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Spinal endoscopy to treat herniated discs

José Luis Sanmillán Blasco
Neurosurgical visits
18 Apr 2023
2 Min
  • Spinal endoscopy is indicated for the treatment of herniated discs and canal stenosis.
  • It is a minimally invasive technique that improves the results of surgery and reduces postoperative recovery time.

The treatment of pathologies of the spine, such as herniated discs and canal stenosis, without the need to resort to traditional open surgery, is now a reality thanks to spinal endoscopy. Unlike traditional open surgery, endoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive technique that improves the outcome of surgery and reduces postoperative recovery time. Specifically, the main advantages it offers include:

  • The reduction of aggression and trauma to muscle tissue, since a small incision is made, which also entails a lower risk of infections.
  • Minimal post-surgical discomfort, therefore, less consumption of analgesics.
  • Possibility of earlier hospital discharge, even on some occasions the surgery is performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Quick and painless recovery that allows an early incorporation into daily and work activities with total normality.

What is endoscopic spine surgery?

This innovative, minimally invasive surgical technique allows access to the spinal column and visualization of the nervous structures that compose it through a tiny camera, which provides high-definition images, allowing the focus of the lesion to be reached with greater precision. The neurosurgeon, through a small incision in the skin, is able to access the spinal canal and enter the herniated discs, where the nerves are being compressed, and release them with minimal damage to the patient’s tissue and fewer post-surgical complications.

“Currently, using this technique it is possible to treat spinal pathologies such as lumbar herniated discs, foraminal stenosis, facet ablation (treatment of low back pain over the joints of the vertebrae)”, highlights Dr. José Luis Sanmillán, neurosurgeon at CreuBlanca.

As it is a type of minimally invasive surgery, spinal endoscopy makes it possible to operate on elderly patients or other risk patients in whom traditional open surgery is not recommended.

“We perform spinal endoscopy using two techniques: transforaminal and translaminar. Through the first, the camera is introduced through the same hole through which the nerve exits, while in the second, the entry of the camera is more medial, and we focus on directly releasing the nerve. Both techniques are very effective and the choice of one or the other depends above all on the type and location of the hernia”, explains Dr. Sanmillán.

Spinal endoscopy is a technique that has not stopped evolving in recent years thanks to the creation of new methods and surgical approaches to treat the spine. For this reason, it is destined to become a common or first-choice procedure, as is currently the case with knee arthroscopy, which makes it possible to treat injuries inside the knee through small incisions and without the need for traditional open surgery.