What Should You Know About Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion Surgery?

If you have back pain, minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery with technological advances will allow you to get relief. This type of surgery can treat most spine issues you may have. Traditionally, open surgery on your back or spine requires your surgeon to make a large incision down your back. They’d have to cut through the soft tissue and muscle.

Minimally invasive surgery changes this by using a small incision and a tubular retractor to hold it open. This tool is different than an open surgery retractor because it gently pushes the soft tissues and muscles aside that surround your spine. The tubular shape creates a small tunnel, and this gives the surgeon access to the problem area without having to cut through layers of muscles or soft tissues. There are several benefits of having spinal fusion surgery, including: 

  • Faster recovery times
  • Less bleeding
  • Less damage to the surrounding tissue
  • Less scarring

Types of Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion Surgery

There are a few types of minimally invasive surgery you can have. They include but are not limited to:


The space for your spinal nerves starts to narrow as you age. When the nerves get compressed where they run through these openings, it can lead to severe back pain. The layers of fibrous tissue squeeze or pinch at the spinal nerves. This surgery will remove some of the material from around these openings to give the nerves more room. This can eliminate the compression and relieve the pain.


Fractured vertebra can result in back pain. Vertebra can fracture due to age because your bones can get weaker and more fragile. This surgical procedure inserts a surgical balloon into the fractured joint through a catheter. The balloon inflates to create space between the vertebra. Then, surgical cement gets injected and sets in 10 minutes. They’ll remove the balloon once it sets.


Your spinal discs act like cushions fitted between your vertebrae. They have a gelatin substance at the core and an outer layer of cartilage. The outer layer gets dry and brittle with age, and it can tear and crack. You could end up with bulging discs where the gelatin substance presses through the weakened wall. Another problem is disc degeneration, where the disc flattens out and can’t give your spine the cushion it needs.

A damaged disc doesn’t always mean you’ll have back pain. However, it’s easy for degenerated or bulging discs to irritate your nerves. In turn, this can cause horrible back pain. It can heal by itself, but a spinal fusion surgery may be necessary if it gets worse or doesn’t heal after six weeks. During this procedure, the surgeon will remove part or all of the disc.

Spinal Fusion

If you have back pain from a moving spinal joint, your doctor could recommend spinal fusion surgery. The doctor will remove the disk from between the two vertebrae in the spinal joint before injecting a bone graft material into the space. They’ll then attach a cage or brace with screws to provide stability until the bones fuse in a few weeks.

Preparing for Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion Surgery

There are a few things you want to do in order to prepare yourself for your spinal fusion surgery. They include but are not limited to:

  • Medications – Tell your surgeon what medications you’re on. This includes non-prescription medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • NPO – NPO is short for nothing by mouth. When you go into surgery, your stomach has to be empty. You’ll typically not eat or drink anything from midnight onward on your surgery day to prevent accidental pulmonary aspiration.
  • Recent Health Changes – Tell your surgeon about any recent health changes like developing a fever or catching a cold.

Recovering From Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

There are a few steps in the recovery process from any surgery. However, since this is a minimally invasive one, the recovery should be much quicker and smoother. You can generally expect:

  • Hospitalization – With a lot of minimally invasive surgeries on your back, they’ll only want to observe you for a few hours. They’ll watch for complications. If you have a more complex procedure, they could keep you for a few days.
  • Pain – This type of surgery requires a lot less cutting into muscle and tissue than open surgery does. This makes the pain easier to manage. Your surgeon will most likely prescribe medications to help control the pain.
  • Recovery – You’ll most likely be able to return to work two weeks after you have this minimally invasive surgical procedure. It can take up to six weeks to fully recover.

Getting Back to Normal Activity

Most people can return to normal activity levels in two to six weeks. Some people may worry that they can’t go back to things they enjoy, but you can start moving around shortly after the surgical procedure. If you have a lumbar fusion, this is one of the more complex surgeries. You’ll be able to get back to your normal activities:

  • Bending, lifting, or stooping exercises – Four weeks
  • Jogging, running, or treadmill exercises – Four to six weeks
  • Swimming laps – Four to six weeks
  • Twisting exercises – Eight weeks
  • High-impact training or sports – Four to six months

Contact Florida Spin Associates for Information Regarding Spinal Fusion Surgery

If you’re suffering from back pain that isn’t getting better, reach out to our dedicated and professional staff at Florida Spine Associates. We’re happy to set up a consultation and give you more information regarding our minimally invasive surgical procedures. We’ll help you get back to a pain-free life.