Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
What makes MIS ACDF so special?
An anterior cervical discectomy (removal of the disc) and fusion (joining or “welding” of two vertebrae) is a procedure whereby an injured disc is removed through minimally invasive techniques and a spacer is inserted in place of the injured disc to relieve pressure on nerves and stabilize the spine.
Conventional ACDFs are performed using self-retaining retractors that use surrounding neck muscles for stability. These retractors apply significant pressure and crushing forces on the important stabilizing muscles of the cervical spine. Minimally invasive ACDFs use table-mounted retractors that are stabilized by a metal bar mounted to the operating table. This type of retractor applies only gentle spreading forces to the surrounding musculature thereby causing less trauma and inflammation.
Additionally, the MIS ACDF technique uses plates that are integrated into the spacers, making it zero profile as seen to the right.
- Eating – Start by eating soft foods that are easy to swallow and drink plenty of liquids, then slowly add other foods into your diet as tolerated.
- Return to Work – If you have a sedentary job, you may return to work around 2-4 weeks after surgery. If your job is physically demanding, you may return to work around 2-3 months after surgery. Dr. Kim recommends returning on a part-time basis with limited duties before returning full time without restrictions.
- Showering/Bathing – You may shower with the dressing for 3 days, after which you may continue to shower with the incision uncovered. It is important that you do not submerge the incision site in water for at least 6 weeks.
- Physical Therapy – Typically starts 3-4 weeks after surgery. The ultimate goal is to make the muscles that surround the spine, act like the world’s greatest neck brace.
- Activities – Around 1-2 months after surgery, you may begin slowly reintroducing your favorite sports and activities.