The Evolution of Minimally Invasive Lumbar Spine Surgery

Spine surgery has evolved over centuries from first being practiced with Hippocratic boards and ladders to now being able to treat spinal pathologies with minimal tissue invasion. With the advent of new imaging and surgical technologies, spine surgeries can now be performed minimally invasively with smaller incisions, less blood loss, quicker return to daily activities, and increased visualization. Modern minimally invasive procedures include percutaneous pedicle screw fixation techniques and minimally invasive lateral approach for lumbar interbody fusion (i.e., minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF), extreme lateral interbody fusion [XLIF], oblique lateral interbody fusion [OLIF]), and midline lumbar fusion with cortical bone trajectory screws (MIDLIF with CBT). Just as evolutions in surgical techniques have helped revolutionize the field of spine surgery, imaging technologies have also contributed significantly. The advent of computer image guidance has allowed spine surgeons to advance their ability to refine surgical techniques, increase the accuracy of spinal hardware placement, and reduce radiation exposure to the OR staff. As the field of spine surgery looks to the future, many novel technologies are on the horizon, including robotic spine surgery, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to help improve preoperative planning, surgical execution, and optimize patient selection to ensure improved postoperative outcomes and patient satisfaction. As more spine surgeons begin incorporating these novel minimally invasive techniques into practice, the field of minimally invasive spine surgery will continue to innovate and evolve over the coming years.


MIS TLIF; Minimally invasive spine surgery; OLIF; XLIF; image guidance.

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