Regis W. Haid, Jr., MD, Spine Surgeon

Atlanta, Georgia
(404) 350-0106

Minimally Invasive Lumbar Spine Surgery

For many years, traditional spine surgery has normally involved making a large incision up and down the middle of the back, and spreading apart ("retracting") the back muscles to gain access the spine. This is commonly referred to as an “open” technique. The main advantages of open techniques include the large incision that provides the surgeon with easy access to the spinal anatomy. The downside of “open” spine surgery is that retraction of the muscles damages the spinal muscles and can cause significant post-operative pain . In addition, "open" surgery often results in significant blood loss, a large scar and comparatively long recovery times.

Regis W. Haid, Jr. MD


While in many instances "open" techniques are still preferred, more and more lumbar spine conditions can be surgically treated using new techniques called minimally invasive spine surgery.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?
As the name suggests, minimally invasive spine surgery involves the surgeon making smaller incisions in the skin and avoiding large muscle retraction where ever possible. The surgeon uses a thin telescope-like instrument, called an endoscope, which is inserted through a small incision. A tiny video camera and light are connected to the endoscope and send images from "inside" the body to a screen in the operating room so the surgeon can observe the progress. Additional small tubes are then inserted through other small incisions. Special minimally invasive surgical instruments are then inserted through these tubes and used to perform the surgical procedure.

Advantages of minimally invasive techniques
Minimally invasive spine surgery generally results in the same surgical outcome as with more traditional techniques. However, there are potential advantages to minimally invasive techniques. These advantages may include:

  • Reduced operative times.
  • Less soft tissue damage, as a result of reduced muscle retraction.
  • Surgical incisions may be less painful.
  • Reduction of blood loss.
  • Faster recovery with less post-operative pain.
  • Shortened hospital stays.
  • Smaller incision can make scarring less noticeable and cosmetically more pleasing.

Use of Minimally Invasive Techniques
At our practice the priority is providing the best care for our patients. For this reason, Dr. Haid utilizes a variety of minimally invasive techniques that we feel are scientifically proven, but avoids the use of unproven techniques or methods that are not right for a particular problem. The minimally invasive techniques Dr. Haid offers include:

  • Discectomy - Discectomies are the removal of intervertebral discs. Many discectomies can be performed in a minimally invasive method, using small incisions to access the spine and to perform the discectomy.
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF). The traditional approach for an ALIF procedure involves significant soft tissue damage and blood loss. Dr. Haid utilizes the most minimally invasive technique which is appropriate for each patient.
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF). Dr. Haid utilizes the most minimally invasive TLIF techniques appropriate for the patient. TLIF is now used for such conditions as spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease.

Dr. Haid assesses the possible use of Minimally Invasive Spine Procedures where ever they may be appropriate. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Haid's contribution to minimally invasive spine surgery, you may wish to visit his Curriculum Vitae on this website.

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