Is Spinal Surgery Right For You?


For those suffering chronic back or neck pain one of toughest decisions is whether or not to undergo spinal surgery.  Traditionally, many sufferers chose to forego surgery and cite anecdotal stories of someone they knew undergoing surgery with less than optimal results.  Also, the fear of a large incision and extended recovery time led most to try to manage the pain without surgery.  

Over the past decade, few other fields of medicine have undergone a more rapid technological advancement than the field of spinal surgery.  Particularly, the advent of Minimally Invasive Procedures coupled with the utilization of surgical microscopes and fluoroscopic guidance has allowed these once complex and invasive surgeries to be performed through tiny incisions.  These procedures are more commonly known as Endoscopic Surgeries.

Instead of surgeons using a large incision to visualize the affected area of the spine, they rely on real time X-rays, known as fluoroscopic imaging, to guide the placement and positioning of tiny surgical instruments.  Whether it is the removal of a herniated disc or decompressing a spinal nerve, the surgical incision needed is only a few centimeters.  As a result, most of these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis with the patient returning home the same day.

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In years past, these incisions would have been 8-10 inches and would require significant dissection of muscle to access the spine.  This dissection is what most often led to the need for extended periods of bed rest and inactivity.  These incisions were also the cause of the visible scarring that most patients feared. 

With more modern techniques these fears are assuaged.  One of the most unique elements of Minimally Invasive Procedures is what is known as a muscle splitting approach.  Using this technique, small surgical cameras and tools are guided between muscle fibers and minimize collateral damage to the muscles surrounding the spine.

For anyone considering a spinal procedure, the most important factor to evaluate is quality of life.  If your back or neck pain is impeding your social, work or family life and limiting you from doing the things you once loved, it may be time to consider exploring surgical options.

Dr. Mitchell Reiter and Dr. Mark Drzala of New Jersey Spine Specialists are pioneers in the field of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.  Both are Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Orthopedic Spine Surgeons who have dedicated their practice to the diagnosis and treatment of chronic spinal conditions.  They are among the most awarded spine surgeons in New Jersey having both received several local and national awards.

If you are suffering from chronic spine symptoms please contact their Montclair office to discuss your treatment options.  Call 908-608-9619 or visit

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