This minimally invasive a procedure is typically offered to those who are experiencing pain in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet. The procedure is an alternative to open surgery, which is considered to be an invasive treatment, and is performed as an outpatient treatment. Select from resources below to keep learning about how it works and how it can help.
What Patients Are Saying
Everyone at the office is so friendly and helpful.
From Sabrina at the front desk, to Esther, the nurse practitioner who we saw for the appointment, everyone was professional and courteous.
- Maria D.
After transitioning from a pain and spine doctor in Columbia, MD.. The intake staff member at Pain and Spine Specialist made the scheduling a breeze. They were able to get me in within a week.
- Rashawn JJ
I've been going to the office for at least a year now. Never have I had a poor visit. Staff are friendly, caring and compassionate. All the doctors / NP are Amazing. They actually care about each patients health.
- Debbie Lang
This is an office that exceeded my expectations. The doctor was a good listener and I was impressed with understanding of my pain and symptoms. Highly recommend!!! - Pain and Spine Specialists of Mount Airy.
- Jeanne Wagener
This practice- every member - has been exceptional in helping me to manage sever spinal stenosis. Every care provider ( and I’ve seen most over 3 years) listens carefully and works with me to seek the best treatment modalities.
- Eileen M
My medications are on point and my new injections are awesome! I get my 2nd injection on September 2nd and I can't wait! I couldn't ask for a better doctor than my doctor! I'm very happy with my treatment plan.
- Janeen R
All the people at the practice are very helpful and considerate. Dr. Gandhi listens to what you have to say and then makes his decision on how to proceed with care. Not a lot of doctors today do this so it's a welcomed change.
- Ken S.
I didn't feel judged or anything because I was trying to get help for my back pain. I had a very pleasant experience there to my surprise honestly. I would recommend this office to anyone who experiences severe pain.
- Heather D
Dr. Roa is such an amazing doctor! During my first visit he never tried to rush through my appt., he genuinely listened to all my concerns and then took his time to explain to me in detail all his recommendations and how they would help me.
- Nikki Walker
Always friendly, courteous, and efficient service. From the ladies, who work the front desk, to the nurses and the doctors. I've always had a good experience with the Harrisonburg office in Virginia.
- Krystal Shaffer
I have now been with Dr. Rao for 13 years. He is the most caring Doctor I have ever been to! Dr. Rao makes you feel very comfortable at all times. I would not want to go to any other Doctor... I go to the Hagerstown location, everyone is very nice
- Theresa R.
The entire staff from the folks at the front desk to the Nurse, to the Physicians Assistant to the scribe that records the visit for the doctor - (great idea so the Doctor can focus on the patient!!!)
- NVA F.
Insurance companies can make things complicated. Regardless, I have been treated by Dr. Rao for over 7 years. I receive the utmost respect. Office personnel are caring and friendly. This practice is highly respected.
- Heidi B.
Completely the best care you could want the staff is so pleasant and caring and the doctors have true heart for healing, love being a patient here would give 10 stars if I could & absolutely the most caring during my procedure with Dr B
- Cathern C.
I had been feeling ick and had a fever. I switched to a virtual appointment and was approved. It was wonderful getting to chat and talk about my concerns just as if I was there... A seamless and easy way to be seen if Covid is around.
- HeatherAnn L
They scheduled my appointment very quickly so that I can get to help that I needed immediately instead of like most places having to wait two to three weeks to get in I called and was able to be seen the next day
- John H.
Patients Seen Within Two Weeks
The minuteman® procedure is used as a treatment for a number of issues, including general chronic back pain. However, it is primarily a treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). Degenerative Disc Disease is chronic back pain that is the direct result of the wear and tear the human body incurs as it ages. It can also treat trauma of the spine, Spondylolisthesis, or tumors of the spine. The minuteman might be considered for those who do not do well under general anesthesia or might not be able to tolerate going through a more invasive open spinal surgery. It is a common procedure and is considered to be very safe.
Degenerative Disc Disease
The spinal column is made up of 26 bones (your vertebrae) and 23 discs. Your discs are the cushions between the vertebrates, all along your spinal column. Your discs act as ‘shock absorbers that allow for comfortable bending, twisting, and flexing. Wear and tear of the joints and spinal degradation is, unfortunately, a part of aging and there is no specific cause for it, although it could be due to multiple factors, such as years of lifting things and bending over, a family history of back problems and arthritis, or injuries.
Disc degeneration usually starts around 40 years of age and progresses over the years. As the spinal discs start to wear down, your bones no longer have that cushioning and they can start to rub together in a way that causes pain. It can also lead to other issues like adult scoliosis, bulging or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis. Some level of spinal disc degeneration occurs in most people, but for those who experience severe pain then treatment may be needed.
Symptoms of of Degenerative Disc Disease
While some people may not actually experience any pain associated with degenerative disc disease, symptoms will appear if the discs are completely worn down. Degenerative disc disease can occur in the cervical spine (the neck) and/or the lumbar spine (lower back).
Symptoms in the lumbar spine can be:
- Pain when bending, twisting, or lifting something even moderately heavy.
- Pain in the buttocks, legs, and/or feet that may get worse when standing or sitting for long periods of time without a proper break. Pain may also be reduced when properly stretching or sitting/lying in ergonomically correct positions.
- Muscle spasms that can be quite debilitating or a feeling of your back giving out (caused by the instability of the spine).
- A numbness or tingling (“pins and needles”) sensation that radiates into the legs.
Spinal Fusion and the Minuteman® Device from Spinal Simplicity
If someone is suffering from chronic back pain then a pain management doctor will usually attempt to relieve the pain through non-surgical methods, such as injection therapies and medication management. However, sometimes these treatments are not enough and surgery may be needed to correct the problem. The minuteman is specifically used for a surgery known as spinal fusion, which is when two or more vertebrae are permanently connected so there is no movement between them.
Spinal fusion is a typical corrective surgery for degenerative disc disease. The minuteman is an alternative to traditional rods, plates, and screws. The device itself is made up of bilateral locking plates, a core threaded post, a fixed plate, and a locking hex nut to secure the device. It comes individually packaged and sterilized. It’s also available in different sizes to be able to perfectly fit your anatomy.
The Minuteman® Procedure
Before the procedure begins the patient will be taken to the operating room in order to be prepped by an attendant. The area of the back, in the exact place where the procedure will be performed, will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthesia will be administered in order to numb the area and anesthesia may also be given through an intravenous line (IV). X-rays will be used throughout to mark the exact spot for the doctor to work on.
While the patient is lying face down on the operating table a small incision will be made by the surgeon. The incision should be no more than one inch long. Then a process known as dilation is conducted, where multiple tubes (increasing in size per tube) are inserted through the incision in order to open up the space around the muscles to provide access to the spine. One final tube, which is still relatively small to maintain the minimal invasiveness, is inserted into the space to allow the minuteman device to be guided and implanted with bone graft.
After the procedure is completed, all of the tools and tube are removed and the small incision is closed and bandaged. The whole process should only take an hour at most and you should be able to be up and moving again shortly after.
Is the Minuteman® Treatment Right for You?
If you are suffering from chronic back pain, a pain management specialist can help determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. When other non-surgical treatment methods have not helped, your pain management doctor may recommend The Minuteman® procedure to better provide you with relief. Your specialist will review the benefits of this procedure and any potential risks you may incur. If they decide it is an appropriate treatment they will then advise you on what the necessary steps will be to prepare for and go through with the procedure.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Minuteman Procedure
As with all procedures, there are advantages to a minimally invasive surgery and risks that a person assumes when they agree to it. One of the biggest reasons people choose to have minimally invasive surgery is because it causes the least amount of trauma to the body and has a short recovery time. Since it is performed as an outpatient procedure, patients are able to go home that same day and can move around with limited motion. Full-on open spinal surgery can leave a patient recovering for months, whereas a minimally invasive surgery generally has a recovery time of a matter of weeks, with patients being able to return to work after a couple of weeks. There is also a decreased risk of blood loss during the procedure and post-operative infections.
While there are several advantages to The Minuteman® pain management, there is a chance that the device will not provide you with adequate pain relief. If your procedure does not work the first time then additional surgery may be necessary, as well. There is also the chance that an infection will set in after the procedure, but your doctor will be able to prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. Some bruising may also occur around the site of the operation, which should clear up within a matter of days. Any risks associated with a minimally invasive surgery are significantly less than those associated with a traditional open spinal surgery.
How To Get Started
If you would like more information about The Minuteman® or other pain management therapies we offer or our pain specialists, please call Pain and Spine Specialists and speak to our dedicated team to improve the quality of your life. You can call (301) 895-0957 (Maryland Locations), (724) 213-8925 (Pennsylvania Locations), or (540) 218-2224 (Virginia Locations) and schedule an appointment today.
If you would like a comprehensive overview of peripheral nerve stimulation prior to scheduling your appointment, then we recommend watching our latest Minuteman Webinar here.
Treatments We Offer
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- Injection Therapies
- Medication Management
- Intrathecal Pumps
- Occipital Nerve Blocks
- Alternative Therapies
- Radio Frequency Ablation
- Trigger Point Injections
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- SGB Injection for PTSD
- MILD (Lumbar Decompression
- Minuteman Spinal Fusion
- Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
- Lumbar Sympathetic Block
- Stellate Ganglion Blocks
Condition We Treat
Everything you need to know about our services, locations, treatments, frequently asked questions and much more!
Get In Touch
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care and services and truly have each individual’s comfort in mind.
At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.