Muscle Sparing and Minimally Invasive Fusions

Minimally invasive surgeries can provide excellent results and relief from symptoms in place of traditional open surgery. Because small incisions are used, there is less harm to the soft tissues and muscles. There is also significantly less blood loss. Many patients who need spinal fusion can undergo a minimally invasive fusion surgery instead which can lead to less postoperative pain and a faster recovery.

Why Minimally Invasive Fusion Surgery?

  • Symptoms are affecting your daily life
  • Your symptoms are worsening over time
  • Nonsurgical treatments have proven ineffective
  • You need spinal fusion but are concerned about the risks, pain, and length of recovery after traditional open spine surgery
  • Candidates

  • The Procedure

  • Advantages


Candidates for minimally invasive spinal fusions may have conditions such as:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Lumbar stenosis
  • Cervical stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipped disc)
  • Spinal deformities (such as scoliosis) or instability
  • Injured or fractured vertebra
  • Spinal tumor or infection

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is not a candidate for a minimally invasive fusion?

Some candidates will not be able to undergo minimally invasive spinal fusion. Candidates with some deformities, previous prior surgeries, or high grade spondylolisthesis may not qualify. If this procedure is not for you, your surgeon will help you determine the best treatment for your needs.

What are the risks of minimally invasive fusions? 

The risks of minimally invasive fusions can be significantly lower than the risks of open spine surgery. The risks and the potential benefits of your procedure will be discussed with you in detail beforehand in clinic prior to scheduling.

What is recovery like after a minimally invasive spine fusion?

Depending on your condition and the extent of your surgery, you may be discharged the same day or up to two days after your surgery. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, most patients are able to get up and walk around a few hours after their surgery. You can resume eating your normal diet as soon as you have recovered from the anesthesia. Many patients notice an improvement in pain levels immediately after the surgery. Postoperative pain is normal, but the pain is usually short-term and can be controlled with pain medications. You will be instructed how to modify your activities during recovery. You may also be given a back brace and/or physical therapy. Most patients can resume most normal activities within a few weeks to less than two months.