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A Brief Overview of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

An Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Michael Warren Cluck, MD, PhD, is an orthopedic spine surgeon and owner of Bay Area Spine Care in San Jose. Michael Cluck, MD, PhD, treats back and neck pain and other spine-related conditions using nonoperative and operative approaches. He is experienced with minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), and he has performed over 3,000 surgeries.

A procedure that makes use of tools like microscopes and special image navigation, MISS serves as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery for treating spine disorders. Surgical work on the spine is performed through 1 cm incisions during MISS procedures. MISS is effective at treating degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and disorders like herniated discs and spinal stenosis that cause neck and back pain. Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces between the spine become narrow which causes pressure on the nerve roots resulting in arm pain (from the neck) and leg pain (from the back) also known as sciatica.

Minimally invasive spine surgery offers multiple advantages over traditional open surgery. These can include smaller incisions, reduced blood loss during the procedure, lower risk of infections, less post-operative pain, and a hospital stay of a few hours or 1-2 days in some cases rather than a week. In addition, MISS causes less damage to soft tissues and muscles, allowing for faster recovery.