Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Emory is at the forefront in advancing minimally invasive spine surgery. Spine surgery is traditionally performed through major incisions – about 7 inches. These incisions predispose the patient to infections, scarring, and pain. Now, spine surgeons are able to perform spine surgery using minimally invasive techniques through a 1 or 2 inch incision.

Advanced imaging techniques combined with new surgical techniques allow Emory spine surgeons to operate with a higher degree of accuracy and consistency that ever before. Using 3D Navigation, our surgeons are able to place a needle into a one-millimeter by one-millimeter by one-millimeter space without ever having to open up the skin with a scalpel. The surgeons use instruments with special markers that allow them to see, in real-time, the exact position and orientation of these instruments. Although the minimally invasive approach is more difficult than the open procedure, Emory surgeons have enough experience performing the open procedure that they are able to perform the entire surgery through these small incisions.

The minimally invasive approach allows patients to recover much faster and go home one or two days after surgery. For younger patients, this means that they can get back to their normal routine very quickly. For older patients, it means that we can offer them surgical options that they would not have had in the past, because the operation would have been too big and too risky.

Minimally invasive surgery takes us one step closer to our goal of getting patients restored back to health as quickly and easily as possible.

Patient Advantages:

  • Minimally invasive approach uses smaller surgical incisions and damages less tissue, which means less postoperative pain and shorter recovery times.
  • 3D Navigation allows surgeons to know - in real-time - the position and orientation of their operating tools.
  • Advanced imaging techniques allow surgeons to place a needle into a one-millimeter by one-millimeter by one-millimeter space without ever having to open up the skin with a scalpel.
  • Reduced recovery time means patients can go home and get back to their normal routines more quickly.
  • Older patients have surgical options that were previously not available to them because the operation was too large.

Why Emory?

The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center is one of the largest spine centers in a university setting in the United States. Our researchers and doctors are pioneering the development of new treatment methods and continually looking for new ways to improve spine care, from minimally invasive surgery to accelerated bone healing. Our entire staff - nurses, OR techs, radiation technologists, secretarial staff, surgeons - their mind and heart is involved in spinal surgery and orthopedic surgery. This is the key to providing that excellent quality that we strive to achieve.

Emory Spine Center

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The Physician

S. Tim Yoon, MD, PhD

Learn more about S. Tim Yoon, MD, PhD

To make an appointment, call 404-778-7777.