Minimally invasive spine surgery is done through small incisions. Segmental tubular retractors and dilators are then inserted through these small incisions to retract muscles and provide access to the spine by creating a working channel for the surgery. This minimizes the damage to the muscles and soft tissues and decreases the blood loss during the surgery. An endoscope is inserted through one of the incisions to provide images of the operation field on the monitor in the operation room. The surgery is done with special surgical instruments passed through the working channel. Sometimes surgical microscopes may also be used to magnify the visual field. The tissues fall back in place, as the various instruments are withdrawn. The incision is then closed and dressed.
The risks and complications of the surgery may include infection, bleeding, nerve injury, or spinal cord injury. Complications due to general anesthesia may also occur.