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Minimally Invasive Spine

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Minimally Invasive Spine

University of Virginia minimally invasive spine surgery by neurosurgeons. It can help certain patients with spine conditions experience quicker hospital stays and recovery times, with less pain and less visible scars.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is emerging as an often preferred alternative to conventional open spine surgery in certain conditions.  

Justin Smith leads our minimally invasive spine program. He has completed fellowship training with leaders in the field and expands our minimally invasive spine capabilities along with Jason Sheehan.

Click on their links for individual contact information, or please feel free to call our general number (434) 924-2203 (Local) or 1-800-362-2203 (Toll free) and our staff will help you.

Benefits Include:

  • Less pain during recovery time
  • Avoidance of damage caused by muscle retraction of open surgery
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Quicker recovery times
  • Less visible scars
  • Safe as conventional

Minimally Invasive Procedures Growing

Minimally invasive spine treatments can be used in certain instances of common spine conditions such as disc herniation, stenosis and degenerative spondylolsithesis,  and in certain instances of more complex conditions like spine trauma, tumor and deformity.

Follow these links for more information about:
Cervical stenosis
Cervical disc disease or herniation
Lumbar stenosis
Lumbar disc herniation or disease
Vertebral compression fracture and kyphoplasty

For more information on spinal disorders, check out Spine Universe

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Basics

Using computer-assisted image guidance, spine surgeons can navigate to:

  • insert a tube straight through skin, fat, and muscle and into bone
  • pass screws through
  • pass rods through into the heads of the screws and tighten
  • perform many other steps through the tube

All of these surgeries can be performed minimally invasively:

  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
  • Discectomy
  • Spinal Fusion with Bone Morphogenetic Protein
  • Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy
  • Anterior Thoracoscopic Correction
  • And more

In addition to these more traditional surgeries, Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty were developed as minimally invasive treatments. In Vertebroplasty, a small amount of orthopedic cement, called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), is pushed through a needle into the vertebral body. The cement hardens quickly, and within a few hours, patients are up and moving around. In addition to relieving pain, those vertebral bodies that are weakened but not yet fractured can be strengthened. Kyphoplasty uses balloons to expand the space where the cement is injected, which can restore height to the spine and help reduce deformity.

For more information on minimally invasive spine approaches and treatments, visit Spine Universe


Our neurosurgeons Justin Smith and Jason Sheehan perform minimally invasive spine surgery.

Click on their links for individual contact information, or please feel free to call our general number (434) 924-2203 (Local) or 1-800-362-2203 (Toll free) and our staff will help you.

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