Minimally Invasive Surgery

Also known as: robotic surgery, endoscopic surgery.

What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is a broad term that applies to a wide range of medical procedures. Essentially, it refers to any surgery where small incisions are made and telescopes and operating instruments are passed into the body, allowing the operation being performed with the surgeon viewing the procedure on a nearby television screen. These surgeries avoid large scars, cause less pain, and disrupt fewer of the body’s organs and tissues.


What happens during the procedure?

The precise nature of minimally invasive surgery can vary widely based on the procedure. Thoracoscopy involves operations in the chest, where tumor or lung biopsies can be performed, while laparoscopy refers to abdominal procedures, such as appendectomy, bowel resection or kidney removal. When the robot is used, the surgeon places the instruments into the patient, then sits at a console (usually in a different part of the same operating room, but it could be across the world!) and performs the operations while watching a computer screen showing three dimensional images.


Is any special preparation needed?

The preparation for minimally invasive techniques is the same as for conventional surgery, and usually involves refraining from eating (an empty stomach) and from taking certain medications, which will be discussed at the time of scheduling.


What are the risk factors?

While the risks of pain, pneumonia and wound complications may be fewer with minimally invasive surgery than for conventional open surgery, many risks are similar. Bleeding, infection and organ injury can occur, . Your doctor will speak about these at the time of your consultation.


Reviewed by: Cathy Anne Burnweit, MD

This page was last updated on: 11/5/2018 11:45:02 AM

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