Minimally Invasive Relief for Back Pain

August 4, 2022

Suffering with back pain like a herniated disc? Palmdale Regional offers an advanced, minimally invasive procedure, biportal endoscopic spinal surgery (BESS), that could bring you relief.

Tyler A. Carson, DO, is a board-certified and fellowship-trained neurosurgeon at Palmdale Regional who helps bring relief to patients using this method. He uses endoscopic surgery like the BESS procedure to assist patients suffering from leg pain, radiculopathy or sciatica from disc herniations.

How It Works

Two small incisions are made in the back to place a camera through one incision and instruments through the other. Surgeons can then remove bone spurs and herniated discs by using the instruments through a portal into the spine.

Compared with single-incision methods, BESS allows surgeons like Dr. Carson more freedom of movement. “It allows us to triangulate to a position in the spine and bypass all of the tissue dissection that we would normally need to do,” he explains. “In the Southern California area, there’s only a few hospitals doing this particular technique with the dual portal.”

Patients are usually up and walking within 30 minutes after surgery. Depending on the symptoms before the procedure, patients typically begin physical therapy a week or two after surgery. Physical therapy concentrates on strengthening the lower extremity muscles.

“Pain-wise, most of the time people get by with just an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen for the first few days after the surgery,” says Dr. Carson.

Minimally Invasive vs. Traditional Surgery

Why choose BESS if it’s an option for you? “Endoscopy is truly the most minimally invasive method,” Dr. Carson says. “We don’t have to cut through muscle. We just place the cameras through the muscle and get down to the bottom of the spine where we need to do the surgery.”

Using traditional methods, patients would face an incision down the middle of the back for open surgery. “That takes a good six weeks to heal up as opposed to the BESS procedure,” Dr. Carson adds.

Minimally invasive surgery like BESS may lead to less tissue damage and pain, as well as quicker recoveries. And many endoscopic procedures can be done as an outpatient procedure that allows patients to go home the same day.

Dr. Carson is very pleased with the patient outcomes he’s experienced with the BESS procedure. “The successes that I’ve seen with patients have been really wonderful,” he says. “If you’ve been considering spine surgery but have been told to never have spine surgery because you’ll never be the same again, this may be the technique for you.”

Listen to Dr. Carson further discuss BESS on our podcast >

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if minimally invasive surgery is right for you.