What is a MINI™ Decompression?
The MINI (MicroInvasive Neuro Integration) Decompression, or MINI D, is one of four procedures that synthesize proven innovative microsurgical instrumentation with the diagnostic methodology and experience of the neurosurgeons at Dallas Neurosurgical and Spine (DNS).
What conditions does the MINI D treat?
The MINI D is a highly effective treatment for stenosis. But depending on the patient, it can also successfully treat herniated discs, synovial cysts and small benign spinal tumors.
Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that results in a constricting or pinching of the nerves or spinal cord. It can result from heredity but, more commonly, it is an acquired condition caused by arthritis, degeneration and/or wear and tear of the joints in the spine. Stenosis most often occurs in the lumbar (lower) spine.
These pinched nerves create symptoms of pain and/or numbness that spread out into the legs and/or arms. Advanced stenosis can result in severe weakness in leg and arm strength. Standing and walking typically make these symptoms even worse, while sitting or lying down provide some relief.
The MINI D procedure is recommended to decompress these pinched nerves when symptoms cannot be tolerated or relieved by medications, physical therapy, injections and other non-operative means.
The MINI D incision is typically less than the diameter of a nickel.
What makes the MINI D procedure unique?
The MINI D procedure uses specialized tubular retractors and innovative, specially-designed surgical instruments to reopen the spinal canal while preserving the majority of the spinal structures. Only overgrown ligament and bone structures are removed to decompress the spinal nerves. The MINI-D surgical incision is typically 2 cm and never more than 5 cm long.
What about conventional “open” procedures? Or the “X-Stop?”
Conventional open decompression requires a six- to eight-inch incision with dissection of the muscles and spinal joints on both sides of the spine. Multiple structures of the spine are removed, including the spinous processes, lamina, facets and several ligaments.
This procedure results in a longer recovery time in the hospital – three to five days – and requires prolonged rehabilitation.
Another decompression technique is called the “X-stop” interspinous spacer, but its success over the long-term has not proven as effective as the MINI D.
How do I know if I’m a good candidate for the MINI D?
If your spine-related pain continues to adversely affect your quality of life and you can no longer be effectively treated for pain, numbness or weakness through physical therapy, medication or epidural injections, we would encourage you to set up an appointment for a proper evaluation.
What results can I realistically expect after surgery?
The relief of symptoms with the MINI D procedure has proven to be equal to or greater than conventional open decompression surgery.
The average hospital stay after surgery is one day. Pain from the small incision is minimal and is usually controlled with oral pain medications.
Most patients are able to walk to the bathroom and sit up in a chair the same day after surgery. Short walks and normal activities like taking a shower can be done, and are encouraged, the next day.
Once you suffer a back injury, you are three times more likely to suffer another one.
Exercises that strengthen the trunk of your body will help to prevent back pain. These can include exercises like sit-ups with your knees bent. And importantly, if you’ve had back problems, be sure to check with your doctor before exercising.