TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A revolutionary way of operating on the spine is offering patients a quicker recovery.

Dr. Patrick Kim, a neurologist with Tampa General Hospital and USF Health, is performing back surgery using an endoscope. He says the method is far less invasive than traditional surgery.

“We can go between the bones and get to the disk right away, so that makes recovery super fast,” Kim said.

Using an endoscope with an HD camera, the surgeon can more precisely reach the site of the problem through an incision the size of a small coin. This allows patients to avoid much larger cuts to both the skin and muscle that typically come with traditional surgery. Thanks to the endoscope’s small size, surgeons can avoid having to damage or cut any surrounding bone to reach a herniated disk.

“Depending on cases, we don’t have to drill any structures,” Kim said. “That causes less scar tissues, less bleeding, shorter surgery time and, most importantly, quicker recovery time for our patients.”

In most cases, Kim said patients using the endoscopic method go home the same day as surgery and most don’t require much if any medication after the procedure. He believes this will eventually become the standard of care for some back surgeries.