In traditional spinal surgery, the spinal column is approached by the spinal surgeon from the posterior (back) or the anterior (front) sides. Recent technological advances now allow the spinal surgeon to approach certain parts of the spine directly from the side. This is known as lateral access or the lateral approach to spine surgery.
Some evidence demonstrates that performing surgery by lateral access can be a significantly less invasive approach for the patient. Recent studies have demonstrated a faster recovery from surgery when this approach is used.
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