Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon Matthew T. Neal, M.D., discusses minimally invasive spine surgery advancements at Mayo Clinic. Topics include virtually reality, robotics and enhancing recovery. He also discusses a variety of different types of minimally invasive spinal therapies that are performed and the reasons why they are performed. Each patient is looked at individually, "What we don't want to make is minimally invasive, minimally effective," says Dr. Neal.
the goal of minimally invasive surgery is to minimize the damage to soft tissue around the spine, including less blood loss, less pain, shorter stays in the hospital faster return to work all of the things that we want for our patients were working very hard to improve every aspect of care for our spine surgery patients were using virtual reality technology to help us educate patients ahead of surgery. We're using it to plan for surgery. Were also using it in the operating room to help us visualize structures and increase the safety of surgery. We're also working on enhancing recovery after surgery for our spine surgery. Patients were using our huge national registry of Mayo clinic patients to study outcomes after surgery and build machine learning algorithms that are helping us predict outcomes and also taylor individualized surgical plans for patients. Most surgeries fall into one of three categories. The first category is decompression surgery with decompression surgery. We're making small incisions, maybe using an endoscope for a slightly smaller tubular retractor to go down and remove tissue that's pressing on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Another type of surgery that we do is called disc replacement surgery. Or are through plastic surgery. With these surgeries. We also make small incisions. We remove a disk and we replace it with a device that maintains natural movement within that joint. A third type of surgery that we do is called spinal fusion surgery with spinal fusion surgery. We're trying to fix two or more bones together. We need to place most of the time some sort of instrumentation into the body that includes rods, screws, plates, sometimes cages into the disk space to hold those bones together so that over time a bridge of bone grows between those levels, fusing them together. We look at each patient and we look for the least invasive way to address their problem. If we have to remove so much bone that it's simply not feasible with our small, minimally invasive portals. In those cases, we do the necessary surgery to help the patient. What we don't want to make is minimally invasive surgery minimally effective. As a spine surgeon working at Mayo Clinic, it is incredibly gratifying and rewarding and exciting to offer patients the latest technologies and minimally invasive surgery techniques. Our goal for every patient is to help the patients recover quickly and get back to life. Yeah.