Endoscopic Spine Surgery

Endoscopic spine surgery is the least invasive and a highly effective procedure to correct a variety of spine problems and resolve back pain.

Unlike traditional back surgery, endoscopic spine surgery does not require a hospital stay, general anesthesia, an incision that needs stitches and time to heal, or a long recovery. Endoscopic spine surgery also offers advantages over laser spine surgery, which is more invasive, using scopes that are three to four times larger than those used for endoscopic surgery.

Endoscopic spine surgery offers the following benefits:

  • The outpatient procedure typically takes 30 to 60 minutes, with no stitches required.
  • The minimally invasive 5-mm incision results in minimal blood loss and little or no damage to muscle tissue surrounding the surgical site.
  • There is no need to implant foreign hardware in the patient.
  • Patients experience few or no postoperative complications.
  • There is little or no pain or scarring.
  • The procedure requires only sedation and local anesthetic.
  • The patient is conscious and able to provide feedback.
  • Recovery times are much shorter than with other procedures.

Patients with back pain caused by disk herniation can benefit from this minimally invasive procedure. Endoscopic spine surgery also has proven to be an excellent option for many patients over the age of 65, who have age-related degenerative spine conditions, offering excellent outcomes, minimal complications and faster recovery. It’s also an excellent alternative for patients who are not able to tolerate open surgery.

Non-surgical, conservative methods are always tried first; if these are not viable, the least invasive surgical options are considered. Surgery is considered as an option only when other noninvasive methods have not fully worked.

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Contact Us

For additional information, to make an appointment, or to refer a patient to the department of neurosurgery, please call 401-793-9166.

What is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

During the procedure, an endoscope is inserted through a very small incision to reach the damaged segment of the spine. The endoscope has a tiny, built-in fiber-optic camera that sends images to a video screen. The surgeon views these images to guide his actions as he uses micro-instruments to remove the damaged disc material and repair the disc.

After the surgery is completed, the instruments and tube are removed and a small bandage is applied over the incision. Because this surgery does not damage major back muscles, patients recover quickly, with a significantly decreased risk of injury or infection. The patient typically is able to resume normal activities the day following the procedure.

Conditions We Treat 

Endoscopic spine surgery is used to treat:

  • Far lateral herniated disc
  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Discitis
  • Annular disc tear
  • Prior unsuccessful fusion surgery


Albert Telfeian, MD, PhD, leads the endoscopic spine surgery program. He is a neurosurgeon in the department of neurosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. He is board certified by The American Board of Neurological Surgery.

Telfeian has published extensively in the areas of epilepsy and functional and spine surgery, and is currently involved in the research and development of ultra-minimally invasive endoscopic techniques.