Minimally Invasive vs Open

What is the difference between minimally invasive surgery and open surgery?

Today, minimally invasive endoscopic surgery provides improved ways to treat sports injuries and complex musculoskeletal conditions. Minimally invasive surgery endeavors to minimize the size of the incision needed, helps to considerably reduce trauma to the surrounding tissues, and preserves spinal motion and stability. It offers less surgical risk, less post-op pain and shorter recovery.

Open or traditional surgery typically requires a large incision and causes significant trauma to surrounding soft tissues, increases surgical risk and leads to longer recovery times. While both types accomplish the same surgical goal, the choice of procedure depends on careful patient selection. Depending on the condition to be treated, not all patients will be candidates for minimally invasive surgery.

What are the different types of minimally invasive Orthopedic procedures?

  • Arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive which allows for examination and treatment of a joint with a small incision and the use of an endoscope. An endoscope is an instrument that contains a small camera which sends images to a monitor so the orthopedic surgeon can see inside the joint to help diagnose and treat the problem. Small surgical instruments are inserted into another incision to repair or remove damaged tissue.
  • Arthroscopic surgery can be used on the knee, shoulder, wrist, hip, or ankle to repair ligaments, remove cartilage, repair cartilage, treat joint injuries and remove loose bone fragments or bone spurs.
  • Due to technological advances, minimally invasive spine surgery can treat back and neck conditions such as herniated discs, spinal nerve decompression, treat spinal stenosis and spinal fusion.

At Orthopaedic Specialists of North County, we employ the latest advances in technology and treatments to continuously improve the care and outcomes of our patients. Our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons engages in continuing education to hone their skills to provide you with the experience and expertise to optimize your care.

Percutaneous Access in Orthopedic Surgery

The term percutaneous is any procedure to access inner organs and tissues by a needle puncture in the skin. It is used in arthroscopic procedures. Percutaneous access allows the implantation of medical devices without large incisions that can be painful and increase the risk of excessive bleeding and infection. The small hole through the skin seals easily and heals quickly. Percutaneous access procedures reduce trauma, shorten surgical operation time and recovery while reducing surgical risks.

Orthopedic applications:

Arthroscopy is percutaneous endoscopy because it requires only a small incision in the skin through which the instruments are inserted to reach and view the procedure site. Percutaneous access is used to stabilize unstable fractures without open surgery, including vertebral fractures due to injury or cancer. It can be used to treat and/or remove a damaged, herniated vertebral disc, reducing pain and improving stability. It can also be used without endoscopy for disc decompression, and injury to the knee cap. . It may also be used with image guidance like real time x-ray called fluoroscopy.

Our name says it all. Orthopaedic Specialists of North County. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of deformities, diseases, and injuries of the bones, joints, and muscles. We treat patients in North County San Diego including Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Solana Beach.

If you suffer from back, knee, leg, arm and neck pain, let us help you. We will listen to you, educate you on your conditions and provide you with options geared to your surgical goals. Call us: 760-724-9000.


"The entire team at OSNC is great, very professional and took the time to put me at ease. And I only have praise for the Dr. Erik Stark, a wonderful doctor who never disappoints!" Patient of Dr. Erik Stark
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