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Cutting Edge Surgery with Dr. Mark Smith
Episode 56th January 2020 • Back Talk Doc • Sanjiv Lakhia - Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates
00:00:00 00:38:02

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Correcting structural spinal problems involves techniques that will take years to practice and master for any neurosurgeon. Procedures not only need to effectively fix the issue, but make sure that no additional damage is done to adjacent areas, the skin and to the spine itself! Nowadays, patients are recommended a specific variety of surgery that does the job with lower risks compared to an open spine surgery.

This episode of Back Talk Doc features Dr. Mark Smith, a practitioner who has been with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates for 17 years, specializing in brain tumors, spine disorders and surgeries. He talks about what exactly Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) involves and the many benefits it affords to patients with spinal issues.

While the risks are relatively the same as any open surgery, MISS, when performed correctly can help achieve the desired patient outcome without affecting the nearby areas or the spine overall. This is because prior to a diagnosis, the medical team will locate the specific location of the pathology that has an issue and focusing the treatment only in that spot. Additionally, there are lower pain levels, reduced risk for infection and quicker recovery times post-surgery.

Dr. Smith also explains how a patient can become a candidate for MISS, how soon can they get back to their regular activities after the procedure, and the downsides to this type of surgery. He also discusses the new technologies and techniques being studied today so doctors can improve the effectivity of MISS.

For Dr. Smith, it’s also important that you consult with a clinic that’s able to offer you a comprehensive variety of techniques that can help you have a better patient outcome.

Key moments in the episode

  • How to stay on top of your game as a neurosurgeon 04:07
  • Basics of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery or MISS 13:18
  • Tools typically used in MISS 16:22
  • Benefits of MISS versus an open procedure 18:19
  • Standard recovery times 23:03
  • MISS for correcting cervical spine issues 25:50
  • Downsides to MISS 27:05
  • Use of lasers as standard of care in neurosurgery 28:52
  • Success rates of standard MISS surgeries 29:41
  • Possible insurance hurdles 30:51
  • New technologies 32:58
  • Using robotics in MISS 34:41
  • Important factor in deciding to go for MISS 35:44

Every episode of Back Talk Doc includes a Health Matters segment intended to provide actionable health information you can immediately put into practice in your life. This week, Dr. Lakhia dives into how using a far-infrared sauna promotes wellness and offers a range of health benefits that can help you stay active. Using this piece of equipment not only helps improve blood circulation and tissue oxygenation, it also eliminates toxins and cleanses your body, to name a few. 06:52

Links mentioned in the episode

Back Talk Doc is brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, with offices in North and South Carolina. To learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back and spine issues, go to To schedule an appointment with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, you can call us at 1-800-344-6716 or visit our website at