Dr. Barba explains why women should have multiple diagnostic imaging tests before having minimally invasive spine surgery.
It’s important to have a complete look at your spine before we do minimally invasive spine surgery. Because the technique involves such small incisions, we have to take advantage of all the information to plan a surgery and to carry it out. Sometimes we use those images, the CAT scan for example, to help guide our GPS systems to do the surgery, or use the MRI and the CAT scan in combination with the x-rays at the time of surgery to confirm where we are and how we are going to do our procedures.
I find the x-rays, the MRI scans, and the CT scans very helpful because this allows us to really identify all the issues that we have to address at the time of surgery and that gives us a better chance of taking care of everything in one operation rather than having to consider coming back for a second surgery. Plus, when we have these small incisions, we have to really anticipate where we are going before we get there, and it allows us to really understand what your problem is before we talk about the surgery.
Some people might be worried about the risks of x-rays or MRI scans, but the risk of CT scan or x-rays are small as long as you only have a limited number of them, and they are much better for you than the issues that might have to be done if you had, say, an open spine surgery. And MRI scans, there seems to be almost no risk from that as far as we know and so that’s usually very well tolerated. But this information gives myself as a surgeon or your doctor, whoever they might be, a complete image of your back and a good idea of what needs to be done before the surgery gets, before the surgery happens.
About Dr. Barba, M.D.:
Certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, Dr. David Barba is a member of numerous professional societies including the San Diego Academy of Neurological Surgeons, the Western Neurological Society, and the Research Society of Neurological Surgeons. He is currently serving as associate professor in the Division of Neurological Surgery in the Department of Surgery at UCSD.