How does Minimal Incision Microsurgery (MIMS) differ from Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS), the current “fad” in spine surgery? Minimal Incision Microsurgery uses a midline approach to the spine- not a sideways approach through the muscles. Placing instrumentation in the spine is done with a CT scan and a GPS during surgery to minimize difficult placement of screws in the vertebra. With MIMS for a simple decompression, the healing rate is equal and the recovery is faster. The incision is normally smaller with MIMS in total added length compared to MISS and the blood loss is either equal or less. There are some rare occasions that MISS can be better (the approach for a far lateral disc herniation) but in my opinion in general, MIMS is a superior type of surgery in terms of success rate, healing, incision length and blood loss.

Minimal Incision Microsurgery (MIMS), just like the MIS, is an approach and can be used with the TLIF or PLIF. The incision is made in the center of the spine and gives access to the fusion area and the central canal. This access allows a full decompression of any herniation or bone spur along with excellent exposure for fusion. The incision from MIMS is normally smaller in length when compared to the 4 incisions used for “minimally invasive surgery” when added end to end and cosmetically more appealing.

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