Minimally Invasive Surgery Specialist

James M. Leipzig, MD, FACS

Spinal Surgeons located in Roanoke, VA

Minimally invasive surgery can be faster and safer than traditional spine surgery, which leads to an easier recovery for you. At The Spine Center in Roanoke, Virginia, fellowship-trained spine surgeon James Leipzig, MD, FACS, specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques, including microsurgery and robotic surgery. For advanced expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Minimally Invasive Surgery Q & A

What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery uses smaller incisions than open surgery, causing less damage to your muscles and soft tissues. Because there’s less trauma to healthy tissues, minimally invasive surgery offers many potential benefits, including:

  • Less pain
  • Smaller scars
  • Less blood loss
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced risk of complications like infection
  • Reduced need for pain medications after surgery

Additionally, The Spine Center may perform some minimally invasive spine surgeries as outpatient procedures using local anesthesia so that you can avoid a hospital stay.

What spine conditions can minimally invasive surgery treat?

Minimally invasive surgery can treat a wide range of disorders that cause back pain and neck pain, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spinal infections and tumors
  • Spinal deformities such as scoliosis
  • Spinal instability, such as spondylolisthesis
  • Vertebral compression fractures

The Spine Center takes a conservative approach to treatment and only recommends surgery when nonsurgical methods like medication and physical therapy have failed.

How does minimally invasive surgery work?

There are many ways to minimize tissue damage during spine surgery. The Spine Center may use various techniques, such as:

Using a tubular retractor

A tubular retractor is a small instrument that creates a passageway to your spine through your skin and soft tissues, pushing them aside instead of cutting through them. Your surgeon operates using small instruments that fit through the tubular retractor.

Percutaneous placement of instrumentation

Some procedures require the placement of instrumentation like rods and screws to support and stabilize the vertebrae. Percutaneous placement involves using X-ray guidance to insert rods and screws through small incisions in your skin without cutting through the underlying muscle.

Direct lateral access routes

This technique involves approaching your spine through the side of your body and accessing the discs and bones with a tubular retractor. Approaching your lumbar spine from the side of your body may result in less pain because there’s not as much muscle tissue in the way.

How do I know if minimally invasive surgery is right for me?

Minimally invasive spine surgery has many benefits, but it’s not always the best option. In some cases, traditional open surgery may be safer and more effective.

The Spine Center most often uses minimally invasive techniques for certain procedures, such as transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), lumbar discectomy, and lumbar laminoplasty. They thoroughly review your medical history and imaging tests to determine whether minimally invasive techniques are appropriate.

To find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery, call The Spine Center or request an appointment online today.