The Benefits of Endoscopic Spine Surgery Over Traditional Methods

Endoscopic Spine Surgery New Jersey Spine Specialist

Grigory Goldberg, MD, works as a spine specialist in New Jersey to ensure you have access to high-quality medical care. Contact our office to consult our experts about any back problems and pain!

Back pain comes from several sources, and it takes a process of elimination to figure out which one applies to you. Once physicians diagnose your condition, they may suggest various ways to resolve it. For example, endoscopic spine surgery could provide pain relief and help you rebuild your mobility.

But what is endoscopic spine surgery, and what does it entail? Read more to learn about this type of surgical procedure and why it has quickly become popular when compared to traditional methods.

What Is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

Endoscopic spine surgery is one of several minimally invasive procedures now available due to technological advancements. In particular, these surgeries allow surgeons to access and treat the lumbar, cervical, and thoracic spine with fewer and smaller incisions.

Most incisions don’t exceed 8mm near the site that needs treatment. An endoscopic camera allows the surgeon to see the nearby anatomy and see how to resolve the cause of back pain and related issues. The surgeon can then use small, careful instruments to resolve pertinent spinal issues, including but not limited to:

  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated discs
  • Vertebral fractures
  • Thickened ligaments

Most endoscopes are around 7mm in diameter, allowing them to fit and assist in the surgical process with ease.

The Differences Between Endoscopic Surgery and Traditional

Endoscopic surgery has many benefits over traditional surgical methods, especially for spine-related injuries.

Shorter Recovery Time

Because of smaller incisions and more precise work they can do with the smaller instruments, your body undergoes less trauma. Every cut takes time to heal, whether cutting through skin, muscle, or spinal discs.

Working smaller means cutting and moving less of your back. Therefore, people’s bodies tend to have an easier time getting endoscopic spine surgery while healing.

Less Blood Loss

During surgeries of any time, you tend to lose blood in higher amounts due to the trauma to the skin, muscle, and other parts of the body. However, endoscopic spine surgery can reduce the amount of blood you lose just by making smaller, more careful incisions. 

With more blood staying in your system, you can recover and return to your normal daily schedule faster.

Reduced Scarring

Surgeries often result in scarring, even with careful consideration of how to do the cut and using sutures or stitches. Having a scar on your back may generally stay out of sight from others. However, everyone deserves the chance to have as little scarring as possible for mobility and aesthetic reasons.

Endoscopic surgeries tend to cause less damage to your body since they rely on small incisions. Traditional methods may require more skin trauma, resulting in larger or more frequent scarring.

High Recovery Rates

Traditional spine surgery methods have a recovery rate of around 80 to 60%, resolving both the cause and resulting pain. Endoscopic spine surgeries, when applicable, tend to have a more consistent recovery rate of around 84%. While no surgeon can guarantee a 100% recovery rate due to several factors, the higher the recovery rates, the better your chances.

Saves Money

In 2020, lumbar spine surgery could cost around $75,000 without insurance, with other related spinal surgeries ranging between $50,000 to $90,000 without insurance. Even with health insurance, you may still need to pay 10 to 40% for out-of-pocket coinsurance. These prices may not fully include the cost of your hospital stay afterward, often billed separately.

Endoscopic spine surgeries often require less healing time. Moreover, many surgeons can complete these tasks as outpatient procedures, sending patients home for recovery. You won’t need to add hospital expenses, and with the faster recovery time, you can return to work sooner, losing less money from recovery.

Why Not Do All Spinal Surgeries with an Endoscope?

With all the benefits you get from working endoscopically, from being an outpatient procedure to the recovery rate, why not do all spinal surgeries this way? Simply put, all spinal surgeries cannot be completed with an endoscope. For example, you may require traditional spine surgery for issues involving larger portions or more body parts around your spine.

Moreover, endoscopic spine surgery integration in the U.S. stunted due to high medical costs while it flourished in Asian and European countries. Therefore, endoscopic surgeries have had a delayed release, leading to more surgeries remaining traditional as we continue to incorporate more endoscopic methods.

When to Consider Endoscopic Spine Surgery

Many causes of back pain do not require surgical intervention. Physicians can help you resolve your back pain with home exercises, physical therapy, and pain management methods. Furthermore, continued advances and studies regarding physical therapy indicate ways to reduce prescribing pain medication and the chance of drug addiction.

However, if the pain doesn’t resolve with physical therapy or exists regardless of physical activity, you should seek further medical attention.

Extremity Pain or Weakness

Your nervous system travels through your spinal cord to the other parts of your body. Those organs and extremities can also receive pain signals from the back.

More severe back injuries or disorders can pinch the nervous system, causing pain to radiate to other parts of your body. You may want to consider spinal surgery if, through medical study, physicians determine that your back is the source of your arm or leg pain.


Osteoarthritis affects joints across the body and the surrounding tissues, most commonly in older people. This tissue degradation can affect your cartilage, joint linings, and ligaments. In more severe cases, you can form painful bone spurs from the lack of protective tissues between the bones. While some bone spurs don’t cause many, if any, issues, others can be severely painful or debilitating.

Endoscopic spine surgery could remove the bone spurs and commence with other procedures to reduce the friction between your bones.

Disc Herniation

You have protective cushions between your vertebrae called discs. Over time, the discs can deform or wear away due to genetics or physical health disorders. As it deforms, the disc or nearby structures can pinch your spinal cord and other parts of your nervous system.

Herniated and deformed discs can cause exceptional pain or numbness in other body parts. Endoscopic spine surgery could help through restorative and management procedures.

Spinal Infection

Although rare compared to other spinal complications, some types of spinal infections may require surgical care. Some surgeons use endoscopic treatment to relieve issues with discitis or osteomyelitis (also known as spondylodiscitis).

Discitis refers to swelling vertebral discs due to a bacterial infection or complications from pneumonia or urinary tract infections. The bacteria from the latter issues can enter the bloodstream and affect the spine via bacteremia. Endoscopic surgery can address the infection and reduce the disc swelling to help you return to normal function.

Osteomyelitis can also come from bacteria affecting the spine, but it can also refer to parasites or fungal infections. Back pain can sometimes be the only symptom of osteomyelitis, which can make this condition difficult for physicians to diagnose. This condition generally doesn’t need surgery unless you also experience spinal instability.

New Jersey’s Best Spine Specialist Near Me

What is endoscopic spine surgery in the grand scheme of your health? Do you need it to resolve your back pain or pain in other parts of your body?

Grigory Goldberg, MD, has over 16 years of experience as a spinal surgeon. His interest in endoscopic procedures increases the data needed for these types of procedures to become more common in the U.S. He has had many successful surgeries and sets up long-term treatment plans to ensure you reach the best possible level of recovery you can.

If you have back pain, check with our team or spine surgeons for the best spinal treatment available in New Jersey. Visit our contact page to book an appointment today.

Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and personal injury protection (PIP). Same-day appointments may be available.

Endoscopic Spine Surgery FAQs

How long does it take to recover from spine surgery?

The time it takes to recover from spine surgery depends on the procedure, your age, your general health, and other factors. For example, spinal fusion surgery can take up to a year for a full recovery. Meanwhile, discectomies remove disc tissue instead of fusing bone and take less time to recover from.

Is every spine surgery an outpatient procedure?

No, every spine surgery is not an outpatient procedure. Some procedures are open surgeries, requiring large incisions for the surgeon to see all the relevant parts of your body needing attention. Minimally invasive surgeries tend to be outpatient procedures due to the reduced number and size of the incisions necessary for treatment.

What can I do to improve my recovery chances after endoscopic spine surgery?

You can practice several habits to improve your recovery chances:

  • Not lifting heavy items
  • Wearing a back brace
  • Exercising with physician approval
  • Avoid movements requiring you to bend your back

About The Author

Picture of Dr. Grigory Goldberg, MD

Dr. Grigory Goldberg, MD

Dr. Grigory Goldberg, MD is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery. He is an expert in all aspects of spine surgery, including degenerative diseases of the cervical and lumbar spine, tumors, fractures, infections, and revision of the back and neck. He has extensive experience in the field of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Motion Preserving Spine Surgery. Dr. Goldberg helped develop and pioneered the most advanced procedures in the field of spine surgery and has invented and hold patents for a number of medical devices.

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