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Department Orthopaedic Surgery,
Wakayama Medical University Hospital

Conditions Treated
Intervertebral Disk Hernia (Cervical-Lumbar Spine), Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy, Lumbar Spinal Canal Stenosis, etc.

Treatment Methods (Endoscopic Surgery Using the Latest Navigation

Endoscopic surgery for degenerative spinal disorders has the advantage of being minimally invasive, posing less of a burden on patients during and after surgery and enabling an earlier return to normal life. A high level of skill is required to perform these complex procedures safely and reliably. The development of new procedures, equipment, and devices in Japan means that existing methods are continually being improved. Due to the high level of interest in learning sophisticated techniques, endoscopic surgery in Japan is at a world-leading level.

As endoscopic surgery must be performed with a very narrow field of view, locating the site for endoscopic treatment within the overall structure can be difficult in patients with extremely severe stenosis or deformities. Our department has introduced the latest navigation system to ensure that surgery can be performed safely and reliably in these cases. Three-dimensional images created from 3D-CT data for the entire spine are displayed during surgery, enabling the surgeon to assess the location and orientation of the area for endoscopic treatment in relation to the spine as a whole real-time.

Our department is also actively developing innovative instruments and devices for use in endoscopic surgery. Most conventional instruments and devices have been developed to meet Western specifications, and can be difficult to use in Asian patients due to their smaller body size. We are therefore engaged in the original design and development of smaller functional instruments and devices designed for Asian patients and are using these in surgery, representing one of the reasons for the excellent results achieved in our department.

Features of Our Department

Results of Spinal Surgeries

2010 275 total surgeries
(Including 158 endoscopic surgeries [57.5%])
2011 270 total surgeries
(Including 172 endoscopic surgeries [64.8%])

Note: Endoscopic surgery accounted for less than 10% of spinal surgeries performed in Japan in 2010.

The number of people suffering from degenerative spinal disorders is rising rapidly in Japan as the population ages, and surgery is now performed even on patients in their 80s with the aim of improving quality of life. This requires that surgery be even less invasive than before, and be performed more safely and reliably. Led by Dr. Munehito Yoshida, one of Japan’s top-ranked surgeons in endoscopic spinal surgery, the eight specialist spinal and spinal cord surgeons in our department are proactively performing minimally invasive surgical procedures. Our department is an accredited training institution for doctors aiming to become specialist spinal and spinal cord surgeons, and accepts over 100 doctors a year for observation and training from throughout Japan. This means that we are perhaps setting the standard for endoscopic surgery in Japan.

We also boast a high level of specialization in other areas of orthopedic surgery, in all of which we are pioneering minimally invasive surgical techniques while actively engaging in basic and clinical research. The department is also willing to perform a range of technically difficult surgeries, acting as a salvage center for surgeries that are difficult to perform at other hospitals.

A Message to International Patients from Our Department

Dr. Munehito Yoshida
Dr. Munehito Yoshida
Professor of the Department Orthopaedic Surgery

In the department, the aim is to provide you with a correct diagnosis for the symptoms that trouble you, and to treat your symptoms by utilizing the latest techniques. We hope you will actively consider undergoing treatment to make your everyday life more comfortable, without feeling any unnecessary anxiety or concerns. Because our department includes a large number of consultant-level specialists in endoscopic surgery, it is possible for us to treat several sites at once. We can also perform surgery on the neck and lower back at the same time. If you have been told at other hospitals that endoscopic surgery is difficult because surgery is needed at too many different sites, then consider consulting us.

Our hospital is the closest university hospital to Kansai International Airport, offering extremely convenient access to transport, so please do not hesitate to visit.

Overview of the Treatment Schedule (Model Case: Endoscopic Surgery for Spinal Canal Stenosis)

Patients must visit Japan approximately one month before their requested date of surgery, in order to undergo preliminary neurological testing as well as MRI and other diagnostic scans, and determine whether we are able to accept you for treatment. If coming to Japan is difficult, please provide a letter of referral from a specialist in your home country together with the results of M RI and other diagnostic imaging, a description of your symptoms, and biochemical test results. These will be used to determine whether you can be accepted for treatment.

Overview of the Treatment Schedule


External View of Our Hospital Performing Endoscopic Spinal Surgery While Viewing a Monitor Diagram of Endoscopic Surgery
External View of Our Hospital Performing Endoscopic Spinal Surgery While Viewing a Monitor Diagram of Endoscopic Surgery
Established 1949
Clinical Departments
Spinal/Spinal Cord Surgery, Hip Surgery, Shoulder Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Hand Surgery, Elbow Surgery, Sports Orthopedic Surgery, Bone/Soft Tissue Tumor Surgery, Emergency Surgery, Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
Payment Methods
Cash, Credit Card (VISA, JCB, MasterCard, American Express), Debit Card


811-1 Kimiidera, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama 641-8510
50 minutes
from Kansai International Airport by car
Approximately 20 minutes from
Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) by car