Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

MISS describes the ability to perform some spinal surgeries through smaller incisions. It involves the use of special surgical instruments, devices and advanced imaging techniques to visualize and perform certain types of surgery through smaller incisions. MISS is aimed at minimizing damage to the muscles and surrounding structures. Not all problems can be addressed through MISS, and often times traditional spinal surgery is needed. MISS has some theoretical benefits over traditional spine surgery that includes:

  • Small surgery scars
  • Reduced risk of infections
  • Less blood loss during the surgery
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Quicker recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker return to work and normal activities


Minimally invasive spine surgery is done through small incisions. Segmental tubular retractors and dilators are then inserted through these small incisions to retract muscles and provide access to the spine by creating a working channel for the surgery. This minimizes the damage to the muscles and soft tissues and decreases the blood loss during the surgery. The surgery is done with special surgical instruments passed through the working channel. Surgical microscopes may also be used to magnify the visual field. The tissues fall back in place, as the various instruments are withdrawn. The incision is then closed and dressed.

Risk and Complications

The risks and complications of the surgery may include infection, bleeding, nerve injury, or spinal cord injury. Complications due to general anesthesia may also occur.