Microsurgical Spine Surgery Specialist

James M. Leipzig, MD, FACS

Spinal Surgeons located in Roanoke, VA

Microsurgical spine surgery is a technique that ensures optimal results with minimal tissue damage. If you have a back problem that requires surgery, James Leipzig, MD, FACS, of The Spine Center in Roanoke, Virginia, can help. Dr. Leipzig specializes in using minimally invasive microsurgical spine surgery to perform procedures such as microdiscectomy and direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF). To learn more, call The Spine Center or request an appointment online today.

Microsurgical Spine Surgery Q & A

What is microsurgical spine surgery?

Microsurgical spine surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that employs specialized techniques and instruments to minimize tissue damage. Minimally invasive spine surgery allows your surgeon at The Spine Center to insert dilators — tubular instruments — into incisions less than an inch long.

The dilators expand to move the muscles and other tissues out of the way without cutting them, thereby creating channels into the surgery site. Your surgeon fits another instrument called a retractor over each dilator, which holds your tissues apart during the operation.

When the retractor is in position, your surgeon takes the dilators away. Then they place a surgical microscope over the retractor to give them a highly magnified, lighted view of your spine. The microscope also relays high-resolution images to a monitor in the operating room.

The instruments your surgeon at The Spine Center uses to perform microsurgical spine surgery pass down the retractors to reach your spine. Disc material, connective tissue, or bone that your surgeon removes comes back up the retractors.

What are the benefits of microsurgical spine surgery?

Microsurgical techniques offer significant benefits when compared with traditional open procedures that require large incisions. Typical benefits include:

  • Less muscle and soft tissue damage
  • Smaller scars
  • Shortened hospital stays after surgery
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Fewer pain medications
  • Reduced recovery time
  • Faster return to normal life
  • Decreased risk of infection

As the technology used in microsurgical spine surgery advances and techniques improve, more patients can take advantage of these benefits.

What procedures use microsurgical spine surgery techniques?

Microsurgical spine surgery techniques are suitable for a range of procedures, including:

Cervical and lumbar microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy involves the removal of part of a spinal disc in either your neck (cervical spine) or lower back (lumbar spine)

Spinal fusion

Spinal fusion involves removing a damaged disc and placing new bone or an artificial spacer in the space left behind. Examples include extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF), transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), and direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF).

Lumbar laminectomy

Laminectomy is the removal of a part of the vertebra called the lamina to create more space in your spine. A similar procedure is a laminotomy, which involves removing only a part of the bone.

Percutaneous pedicle fixation

Pedicle fixation means fitting metal rods and screws into sections of your vertebrae called the pedicles. This procedure helps to stabilize and strengthen the spine.

If you want to know more about microsurgical spine surgery and whether you’re a good candidate, call The Spine Center or request an appointment online today.