In cadaveric studies, thoracoscopic spine surgery has been shown to improve spinal flexibility in humans and animals. Since 1997, thoracoscopic surgery has become more prominent in scoliosis treatment. With the implementation of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), treatment of scoliosis is less invasive than ever before.
What is Thoracoscopic Spine Surgery?
Thoracoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where the surgeon accesses the anterior thoracic spine — or the upper and middle back — while the patient is under general anesthesia. By using this method, there is no need for a large incision; instead, multiple small skin incisions are made along the side of the chest wall. These small incisions allow the insertion of a small fiber-optic camera for magnification and visualization of the procedure. Surgical instruments designed to be used along with the camera can reach across the lung space and reach the spine. Through thoracoscopic spine surgery, vertebral discs can be removed, and bone graft can be added to strengthen bones for spinal fusion.
What is Thoracoscopic Anterior Release?
The most common use of thoracoscopic surgery is anterior release. Upper and middle vertebral discs are removed to increase the flexibility of the patient’s spine allowing for better correction of spine curvature. This approach is considered for rigid scoliosis. Other types of spinal curvature that can be treated with thoracoscopic anterior release are:
- Type III curves – single thoracic curves
- Hypokyphotic curves – curves present in young patients
Many experts consider thoracoscopic surgery to be safer and more efficient than open surgery. Advantages of thoracoscopic anterior release over open surgery include:
- Less blood loss
- Greater visualization
- Shorter operating time
- Reduced infection risk
- Shorter recovery time
- No large incision made in the chest wall muscles
Through thoracoscopic surgery, anterior release may become a primary method of scoliosis treatment.
Although thoracoscopic anterior spinal surgery is a relatively new procedure, its safety and efficiency shouldn’t be ignored. Thoracoscopic anterior release creates an easier and quicker recovery than traditional scoliosis surgery. Garden State Pain Control provides up-to-date pain management techniques suited for scoliosis and other cause of back pain. Visit one of our New Jersey facilities or contact us to speak with a pain management expert today.