Endoscopic Spine Surgery: the pros and cons of a new technique of minimimally invasive spine surgery
In most orthopedic subspecialties, endoscopy has become routine and no one now would offer a patient an open meniscectomy. Endoscopy has gradually replaced traditional open surgery techniques in other areas as diverse as shoulder, hip, wrist and ankle. In other specialties the same trend has occurred. But the spine has been somewhat left behind. This is out of a desire to reduce one of the major factors in postoperative problems, which is the soft tissue injury associated with open surgery.
Endoscopy of the spine is not new though. Since 1998, in Germany the team of Dr Ruetten in the town of Herne has developed an endoscopic system which, in expert hands, can achieve similar results to those of open surgery. Most common procedures can be performed in the lumbar and cervical spine.
My own training in this area has involved multiple lab practice. After performing simple cases in the United States I returned to Germany fotr more training. At this point operate on disc herniations of the lumbar Spine. In the autumn of 2012, I am planning a two week stay in Germany to complete training in the endoscopic treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
Cervical spine procedures can be done as well but this will be for 2013.