The Business of Back Pain: Minimally Invasive Surgery Most Effective


Patients dealing with chronic back pain may find minimally invasive back surgery to be more effective than more invasive open procedures, according to new research by Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

The seven-year study followed more than 300 patients — ranging in age from 19 to 93 years old —who received a low back surgery called minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. The researchers found the procedure, which involves smaller incisions than traditional back surgery, can reduce chronic low back pain, hospital stays, complications, and scarring.

“Patients have demonstrated a very high rate of satisfaction with the minimally invasive technique,” said Dr. Mick Perez-Cruet, the neuro-spine surgeon who led the study. “The majority of my patients are completely pain free and have returned to work and daily activities and have an improved quality of life.”

About 90 percent of adults experience low back pain in their lifetime, Perez-Cruet said. While most low back pain follows injury or trauma to the back, arthritis or disc disease, osteoporosis or other bone diseases, or congenital abnormalities to the spine may also cause it. Obesity, smoking, weight gain during pregnancy, stress, and poor physical condition may also be contributing factors, say Beaumont officials.

Beaumont’s research findings were published in the February online issue of Spine.

The Neuroscience department, which conducted the study, treats neurological conditions of the brain and spine. Additionally, Beaumont will open a new 81,000 square-foot neuroscience center later this year.