Neurosurgeon Edward H. Scheid, Jr., MD, President of Capital Region Special Surgery, has developed a unique, minimal approach for lumbar spine surgery.
What is MMLF surgery?
MMLF surgery involves a combination of an approach and specific instrumentation used together to achieve an interbody and posterolateral fusion with minimal tissue disruption and preservation of normal anatomical structures.
The procedure is a variation of a minimally invasive TLIF, but it is done with minimal disruption of the patients normal anatomy and the incisions can be much smaller because the decompression of the affected nerve(s) is done microscopically and the implants are assembled and/or expanded to their full size while in the patient’s body, as opposed to outside the patient.
What are the advantages of MMLF surgery over traditional spine surgery?
1. A less painful recovery
The MMLF procedure utilizes muscle sparing techniques and very small incisions, which together lead to much less postoperative pain. Patients are usually up walking within hours of the surgery and most will be walking miles a day within several weeks.
2. Shorter surgical time
A one level MMLF usually takes about 90 minutes to perform. Open fusion surgery or fusion surgery done via some other minimally invasive techniques can take hours longer.
3. Less blood loss
Most of Dr. Scheid’s MMLF cases have blood loss classified as “minimal” or less than 50cc (Up to 90% less blood loss). Open back surgery often leads to significant blood loss and occasionally has a need for transfusion or cell saver replenishment.
4. Shorter hospital stay and recovery time
Most MMLF patients are out of the hospital within 2 nights of surgery and most are up walking the same day as the surgery is performed.
5. Less complications
Open fusion surgery has many possible complications. MMLF cases have a very low chance of hardware failure, bleeding, spinal fluid leak, and infection.
Who is a candidate for MMLF surgery?
Dr. Scheid is doing most of his lumbar fusions in a minimally invasive fashion. Any patient who is candidate for open spine surgery should come in for an evaluation to see if they are a candidate for the MMLF.