Department of  Neurosurgery
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Call Us: (314) 362-3636

Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery

 Washington University spinal neurosurgeons specialize in the treatment of the entire range of spinal disorders, extending from the skull to the sacrum. From rare to commonplace conditions, our fellowship-trained and board-certified surgeons are uniquely qualified to treat spine diseases. We take a multidisciplinary approach that combines the expertise of neurologists, physiatrists, pain specialists and surgeons to develop treatments tailored specifically for each patient. As educators and scientists, our physicians are actively engaged in clinical and basic science research designed to improve the quality and safety of the care we deliver to our patients. Washington University surgeons provide the most advanced and innovative care, tailored to each patient’s pathology.
Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery refers to advanced surgical techniques that minimize tissue and muscle disruption. Through the use of specialized instrumentation, intraoperative navigation, advanced robotics and microsurgical techniques, our surgeons are able to perform many common spinal procedures through very small incisions. These techniques lead to more rapid recovery, shorter hospital stays (often < 24 hours), less pain, lower complication rates, and faster return to work.
Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery Program: Conditions Treated
Novel procedures have been developed to treat:
  • Degenerative spinal conditions
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Herniated discs (cervical, thoracic, lumbar)
  • Spondylosis
  • Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Radiculopathy
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra)
  • Synovial cysts
  • Spinal deformity
  • Tumors of the spine and spinal cord
Minimally-Invasive Surgical Treatments
Our surgeons specialize in both minimally invasive and traditional open surgical procedures. Members of our Spine Division have been involved in the development of new open and minimally invasive spinal techniques.
  • Interpedicular minimal access surgery
  • Minimally-invasive lumbar fusion
  • Minimally-invasive percutaneous spinal fusions
  • Minimally-invasive thoracic fusion
  • Minimally-Invasive tubular spinal decompression
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Laminforaminotomy
  • Artificial disc replacement
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Spinal navigation
  • Robotic spinal surgery
  • Spinal tumor laser ablation    
  • Endoscopic lumbar discectomy
  • Endoscopic lumbar interbody fusion

Not every patient is a candidate for one of these procedures, and the safety and success of an individual procedure depends on matching the correct patient to the correct procedure.

Minimally-invasive tubular spinal decompression for spinal stenosis

Minimally-invasive lumbar fusion for spondylolisthesis

Minimally-invasive lumbar fusion for spinal deformity with radiculopathy

Minimally-invasive lumbar fusion for spinal deformity with spinal stenosis

Cervical arthroplasty for radiculopathy

Surgical Outcomes after Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery Program

For patients who qualify, minimally-invasive surgery (MIS) accomplishes all the goals of surgery with lower blood loss, less narcotic use, shorter hospital stay (1 versus 8 days) and more rapid return to an active lifestyle.

Washington University Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Program for Spine Surgery

The ERAS program for Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery Program is designed for rapid recovery of patients who are motivated to return to a higher quality of life with emphasis on patient education, patient rehabilitation, short hospitalization and rapid return to work. By optimizing patient attributes, pathology, rehabilitation and minimally-invasive spine surgery, many patients are candidates for less invasive procedures. Ask your provider if you are a candidate for this program.

Appointment Information

To schedule an appointment and be evaluated for minimally-invasive spine surgery, contact us at (314) 362-3577.

Neurosurgery Providers

Ammar Hawasli MD, PhD
Wilson Zachary Ray, MD
Ian Dorward, MD
Paul Santiago, MD
Neill M. Wright, MD


 900 cervical patients are seen per year