The USC Spine Center is an international leader in the field of minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS).

Our spine surgeons are experts in minimally invasive surgical techniques and have all completed subspecialty fellowships. In 2015, surgeons at Keck Medicine of USC performed almost 250 minimally invasive spinal surgeries.

We offer a robust training program for residents and fellows in orthopaedics and neurosurgery. In addition, approximately 10-15 international fellows come to the USC Spine Center each year to train in MISS. All of our faculty are engaged in an active research and publication program, with recent manuscripts published in Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, and World Neurosurgery, to name a few.

Surgeons at the USC Spine Center use minimally invasive techniques to correct conditions including:

Each patient receives an individualized assessment of their spinal anatomy and disorder to determine if a minimally invasive surgical procedure is appropriate. The mission of the USC Spine Center is to deliver appropriate spine care, with physicians considering all other options before performing surgery.

Understanding the risks

When surgery is deemed the best treatment option, the team at USC Spine Center will work with patients and families to ensure they have a thorough understanding of the procedure and recovery. MISS procedures achieve comparable outcomes to open procedures in terms of restoring movement and reducing pain long term.

Advanced technology

Instead of using a standard retractor that disrupts the muscles of the spinal column, MISS uses a tubular retractor to create a port to move instruments in between the muscle fibers. The altered surgical technique allows many MISS procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis. As the demographic in the United States ages, older patients who are still physically active may benefit from MISS to minimize the conditions associated with recovery from a traditional open procedure.


MISS confers numerous benefits to the patient compared to traditional open spinal surgery, including

  • Less blood loss during the procedure
  • Lower risk of wound infection after the procedure
  • Quicker recovery by the patient
  • Lower rate of perioperative complications
  • Less postoperative medicine used


After a traditional single level lumbar fusion, it is common for patients to take pain medication for six to eight weeks after the procedure. After a minimally invasive lumbar fusion, most patients are weaning off of pain medication two weeks after the procedure. MISS also results in cost savings to hospitals, providers and patients compared to traditional surgical procedures.

Surgeons at the USC Spine Center are at the forefront of MISS and have been instrumental in developing new techniques, including a minimally invasive variation on a standard procedure to decompress foraminal stenosis that can be performed as a single outpatient procedure, and a minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion. The USC Spine Center is committed to remaining at the leading edge of minimally invasive procedures for spinal disorders. Our goal is to use the latest technology to advance the care of our patients.