Complication avoidance in minimally invasive spinal surgery

Peter B. Derman, Frank M. Phillips


Minimally invasive techniques in spinal surgery allow surgeons to perform operations with less of the approach-related morbidity inherent to traditional open procedures. Yet these muscle-sparing procedures come with a unique set of risks that stem from the novel approaches, limited exposure, and/or a restricted working corridor that they employ. The literature suggests that these operations can be performed without an increased rate of complication once the associated learning curve has been surmounted, suggesting that knowledge of and experience with the nuances of these procedures are essential for patient safety. The present article describes the complications specific to a variety of minimally invasive spinal surgeries and provides guidance on how to avoid them.