Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Specialist

Joseph Watson, MD -  - Board Certified Neurosurgeon

Cerebrum MD

Joseph Watson, MD

Board Certified Neurosurgeon located in Tyson's Corner, Vienna, VA

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is less painful and promotes much faster healing than open surgery for patients with common problems like spinal stenosis and herniated discs. Highly skilled neurosurgeon Joseph Watson, MD, at Cerebrum MD in Northern Virginia and Greater DC area, is an expert in minimally invasive spinal surgery for these conditions, as well as many other causes of back pain and dysfunction. Call Cerebrum MD today to find out more or book an appointment online.

Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Q & A

What is minimally invasive spinal surgery?

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is an alternative to traditional open surgery that causes significantly less tissue damage.

Open spinal surgery involves making large incisions in the tissues and muscles in your back and pulling them away from your spine. Minimally invasive spinal surgery only requires small incisions, avoiding the need for cutting large areas of muscle.

During minimally invasive spinal surgery, Dr. Watson uses devices called tubular retractors that fit into the smaller incisions. The retractor holds a small section of your muscle open to make an access point. Specialized surgical instruments go down the tubular retractors to the surgery site. Dr. Watson can also remove material like damaged disc tissue through the retractor.

When your minimally invasive spinal surgery is complete, Dr. Watson removes the tubular retractors, and your muscles return to their normal position.

How does a surgeon see my spine during minimally invasive spinal surgery?

To see your spine and surrounding tissues in detail during a minimally invasive spinal surgery procedure, Dr. Watson uses moving X-ray technology called fluoroscopy. This provides him with clear images of your spine, visible on a monitor in the operating room.

He might also use an operating microscope to provide light and magnification. For some procedures, Dr. Watson uses endoscopic techniques. This involves using a tube that’s fitted with a light and miniaturized camera to relay images of the surgical site.

What conditions can minimally invasive spinal surgery treat?

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is now the preferred choice for many types of spinal surgery. Dr. Watson and his team at Cerebrum MD commonly use minimally invasive techniques to treat conditions such as:

Spinal stenosis

Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can develop because of age-related deterioration, damage from repeated use, and conditions like degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.

If your spinal canal narrows too much, tissues or bone spurs can irritate and compress nerves in and around the spinal cord, which runs down your spinal canal. The irritation and pressure can cause back pain and other unpleasant sensations.

Herniated discs

Herniated discs develop when the outer shell of the shock-absorbing discs between each vertebra tears, allowing the soft interior to protrude. This protruding tissue can press on the spinal nerves, causing pain and leading to problems like sciatica.

To treat conditions like these, Dr. Watson can perform minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD), minimally invasive spinal fusion, or minimally invasive discectomy to remove herniated discs.

What are the advantages of minimally invasive spinal surgery?

Minimally invasive spinal surgery has significant advantages over open surgery, including:

  • Less pain
  • Smaller wound
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Less blood lost
  • Faster wound healing
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Far less tissue damage
  • Reduced scarring

If you need spinal surgery, find out if a minimally invasive approach would be right for you by calling Cerebrum MD today or book an appointment online.