Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery

This information is useful for children and adults
back on their feet
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Our doctors create a comprehensive treatment plan to address patients' physical and emotional needs.
  • We use cutting edge technology to perform minimally invasive spinal surgery.
  • We draw upon the expertise of doctors from multiple departments.

If you're one of the 29 million Americans who needs to have spinal surgery for neck or back pain, you may be worried about the procedure, including about how much time you will have to take off to heal. Historically, spinal surgery has been a challenge: In order to access the affected area, a surgeon had to make a large incision and then move aside the muscles surrounding the spine.

But in the last decade, minimally invasive spinal procedures—requiring smaller incisions and causing less damage to the surrounding tissue—have allowed surgeons to navigate the spine and isolate a patient’s spinal problems with better results and less recovery time.

Yale Medicine uses cutting-edge technology to perform these procedures so that patients can get back on their feet quickly. 

Common problems that compel patients to seek spinal surgery, including minimally invasive spinal surgery, include:

  • Degenerative instability, which happens when joints become so arthritic that patients begin to experience slipped vertebrae.
  • Disk herniations with sciatica, in which a patient may experience extreme pain from a pinched nerve that runs down the leg.
  • Myelopathy, which is spinal-cord compression that results in stiffness and weakness in the neck that can also begin to affect the legs.
  • Spinal stenosis, which occurs when the spinal canal has accumulated scar tissue or bone spurs. Those abnormalities can begin to compress the nerves that go to the legs, causing pain and difficulty walking.
  • Spinal tumors, which can either be primary tumors that originally developed in the spine or metastatic tumors, which are related to the spread of other cancers.