Life can be hard on the back, especially the lower back. Many people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. This back pain may be caused by spinal stenosis, disc herniation or other spinal disorders.

Many people suffering from back pain will get better with conservative treatment such as medication and Physical Therapy, but some will require surgery.

Treating back pain conservatively

The best course of treatment for your back pain may begin as soon as the correct diagnosis has been made by your Spine Specialist.

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Early stages of spinal stenosis and disc herniation may be effectively treated with medication, including anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxors and pain medication to name a few.

Physical Therapy may be effective in helping you strengthen your back, help you understand safe ergonomics and body mechanics and help reduce the stresses you put on your spine in combination with back bracing.

Once these conservative measures are no longer effective, other options, including ESI (Epidural Steroid Injections) might become an option for you.

The YESS procedure

YESS is an alternative type approach to a spine surgery that is used to help restore normal anatomy and function of the spine. After a ¼ inch incision is made several inches away from the midline of the back, the surgeon will insert a canula with a camera (and endoscope) to view the affected area.

Using this sideway approach, the surgeon will be able to go around the spinal column instead of going through it to remove the diseased disc and by working through this endoscope the incision will be kept very small (¼ inch).

This allows for a very specific approach and also allows for no bone removal at all, which significantly speeds up the recovery after this procedure.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

  • More natural anatomy is preserved so the recovery time will be much shorter
  • Shorter recovery time will allow for quick rehabilitation after the procedure
  • Very small incision (hardly noticeable)
  • Procedure may be done under local anesthesia

What are the expected outcomes?

The main goal of this procedure is to provide relief of leg pain and prevent further neurologic injury. Success rates are superior to the published results of standard microscopic discectomy and patients typically experience quicker recovery time and quicker rehabilitation due to the more minimally invasive nature of this procedure.

How is this procedure different from Laser Surgery or a Microdiscectomy?

A microdiscectomy is very similar to this procedure but it is done via straight back (posterior) approach. This means that the surgeon will have to go through the back wall (lamina) of the diseased segment, potentially causing instability of the segment. A second difference is that the recovery from a discectomy or laminectomy will be much longer and slower.

The biggest difference between the YESS procedure and laser surgery to the spine is that during the Laser surgery, there is no direct visualization of the surgical area, affecting the outcome of the procedure. The laser is also used during the this procedure. So this is the Laser procedure with better visualization since an endoscope is used.