When we develop disc hernias, protrusions or other conditions in our spine, we might experience pain and limited mobility. Herniated discs can be extremely painful, often causing great discomfort and affecting both our personal and professional life.
Besides traditional spine surgery, there is a new procedure that can help patients treat spine conditions less invasively: endoscopic spine surgery.
This innovative procedure offers patients a new, minimally invasive approach to disc herniation, spine stenosis and many other spine defects. We asked Dr. Kwiek, experienced neurosurgeon who performs endoscopic spine surgery at KCM Clinic, to answer the 7 most asked questions on this procedure.
Associate Professor Stanisław Kwiek is an outstanding specialist in the field of neurosurgery.
He is a graduate of the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice and has gained professional experience working as an assistant professor at the Department and Clinic of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of Katowice, with which he is still associated.
We’d like to thank Dr. Kwiek for taking the time to talk to us despite his busy schedule. If you need more information on endoscopic spine surgery or would like to plan a treatment, contact us anytime! We are happy to assist you.
Dr. Kwiek, thank you for your time. First of all, can you please explain what endoscopic spine surgery is?
“Endoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve or the spinal cord. It gives immediate pain relief and recovery time is much shorter than traditional surgical methods. At KCM Clinic, we pride ourselves in offering this advanced treatment that can treat conditions in the cervical, lumbar and thoracic spine.”
Who can benefit from endoscopic spine surgery?
“Patients usually try conservative treatments before considering surgery: physiotherapy, stretching, exercise, and corticosteroids, for example. However, when these treatments don’t work, spine surgery might be the only treatment option left.
We evaluate each case on an individual basis, but generally speaking, endoscopic spine surgery can help individuals who need to:
- Repair herniated discs
- Treat spine conditions such as scoliosis
- Decompress their spine
- Repair and stabilise vertebral fractures
We will discuss with our patients whether their spine condition can be treated in a minimally invasive manner during our consultation.”
What makes endoscopic spine surgery innovative?
“Compared to traditional spine surgery, endoscopic spine surgery is minimally invasive. This means that trauma in the treated area is minimal and that recovery time is much quicker.
Moreover, a special instrument is used to perform the procedure: an endoscope with a HD camera that treats the hernia from the inside. This way, the risk of damage to the spinal cord is well reduced.”
What should patients keep in mind before undergoing endoscopic spine surgery?
“Before considering endoscopic spine surgery, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Patients can also contact our patient coordinators to get more information about the procedure and assess whether surgery is the right option in their specific case. They will ask questions about your overall health, if you’re taking any medications regularly and if you have any underlying conditions we should know of. Patients will need to send us an MRI or CT scan of the spine, performed within the last 6 months. We also need to see all the test results, including the CD, when they visit us at KCM Clinic. We might ask patients to undergo additional medical tests; this will be decided once we have our first pre-surgery consultation. Finally, patients can expect to stay at our clinic for about two days and they shouldn’t drive a car for some time after surgery.”
Can you briefly explain how endoscopic spine surgery works?
“We start the procedure by administering general or local anaesthesia. Either way, the treated area will be completely numb. Then, we use a guide wire for the correct positioning of the surgical instruments in the treated area. While keeping the incision open, the endoscope is inserted. We have a complete overview of the area thanks to the HD camera attached. Now, we remove the herniated and vertebral disc tissue with the help of forceps to relieve compression of the nerve structures. The total duration of an endoscopic minimally invasive spine surgery is between 30 minutes – 1 hour.”
What should patients expect after endoscopic spine surgery?
“What we often hear from patients who wake up from surgery is that they feel an immediate pain relief. We may still need to prescribe painkillers to treat some initial discomfort from the surgery, but patients usually notice a big difference. Then, we suggest that patients listen to their body and how it responds. Generally speaking, heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are also a necessary part of the recovery and they will ensure that treatment is successful.”
What are the benefits of endoscopic spine surgery?
“Endoscopic spine surgery has great advantages compared to open surgery and great benefits for patients. First of all, tissues in the operated area, such as muscles and ligaments, are minimally disturbed by the surgery. Patients won’t have a large scar as for traditional spine surgery and the hospital stay is much shorter, as well as recovery time overall. Last but not least, thanks to its minimal invasiveness, blood loss during surgery is well reduced.”
Endoscopic spine surgery at KCM Clinic
KCM Clinic’s Minimally Invasive Spine and Neurosurgery Center sets the benchmark worldwide for the highest standards of treatment.
KCM Hospital boasts more than 3000 endoscopic spine procedures and is one of the few centres worldwide for cervical spinal endoscopy.
We help hundreds of patients every year with back and neck conditions. Our team of highly-specialised surgeons and doctors are recognised worldwide in the field of neurosurgery. Get in touch with us anytime, we are here to support you.