Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery | Virginia Spine Institute
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ASK THE EXPERT: What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Authored by Dr. Colin Haines, MD. January 26, 2017

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery {MISS} is a buzzword often thrown around by doctors and patients seeking the best surgical option for their neck or back pain. And for good reason!  MISS offers the same post-surgical benefits as traditional spine surgery, but with much less trauma. Until recently, many surgeons needed to make large incisions which required cutting and disturbing a lot of muscle groups. This hurts! In contrast, MISS instead aims to separate spaces in-between muscles and tissues. This also requires less anesthesia during the procedure and results in shorter hospital stays.

The goal of MISS is to achieve the same, if not better, long-term outcomes while minimizing surgical pain and getting patients back to activity more quickly!  This broad category of surgical options includes many techniques employed at the Virginia Spine Institute.


Robot-guided spine surgery allows surgeons to operate very accurately through a small incision while also decreasing the need for radiation during a surgical procedure. Among other benefits, the procedure decreases overall risk during surgery and improves surgical accuracy.


When fusion is necessary, certain patients may also be candidates for MISS. Techniques such as anterior lumbar interbody fusion or direct lateral lumbar interbody fusion allow the doctor to split, rather than cut muscles. Small incisions or muscle splitting approaches also allow screws and rods if needed.


Scoliosis Correction also utilizes robot-guided spine surgery to place screws, rods, hooks, and wires along the spine to correct the abnormal curvature and prevent further progression of the disease.

Again, MISS achieves the same goals as traditional spine surgery.  Both types of surgery can take pressure off of your nerves and hold your spine in a good position to eliminate your spine and nerve pain.  However, outcomes are better in many circumstances with MISS because it can get you back on your feet and recovering quicker with less pain.  To see if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, schedule an appointment today!

Dr. Colin Haines is a board certified spine surgeon and the Director of Research at Virginia Spine Institute. Dr. Haines performed the world’s first combined endoscopic and robot-guided spine surgery. His patient success has earned him a national feature on The Today Show and WebMD, and Top Doctor recognition in consecutive years. Learn more about Dr. Haines.

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About The Author

Dr. Colin Haines, MD

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