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 is minimally invasive surgery used for?

As technology progresses we are able to apply minimally invasive surgery procedures to an ever-wider number of patients and diseases. We currently apply minimally invasive techniques for:

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.

Can these minimally invasive surgery techniques be used for all children?

Minimally invasive surgery migh not necessarily the best techniques for every child and they may not be applicable to some diseases. The department of Pediatric Surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital evaluates every patient to offer the best possible therapy specifically for that child.


Reviewed by: Cathy Anne Burnweit, MD

This page was last updated on: 10/2/2019 4:14:18 PM

Learn more about

Thoracoscopy

A thoracoscope is a long, thin camera used to inspect the lungs and internal chest cavity. Thoracoscopy can encompass simply viewing the lungs and their surroundings or it can refer to using instruments to operate on the lungs by passing them through small tubes called ports. Learn more

Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy refers to the use of a thin camera and instruments inserted through small incisions in the abdomen to perform operations that had been done with large incisions in the past. Learn more