The Minuteman® Procedure  

The Minuteman®  is a device made by Spinal Simplicity that is implanted in the spine to help stabilize the spine and the lower lumbar back. This device is minimally invasive and the minuteman procedure is typically offered to those who are experiencing debilitating pain in the lower back.

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The Minuteman®

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. 

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When the Minuteman® Would Be Considered as a Treatment  

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.

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Our Providers

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our pain management specialists and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your chronic back pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find our locations conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Our Providers

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.

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Our Providers

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.

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Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 


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