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What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery? | Ormond Beach Medical Negligence Attorney

What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive or endoscopic or keyhole surgery generally means operations that are less traumatic than traditional surgery.

By using special instruments, the approach can allow for smaller incisions, quicker recovery, and fewer side effects. Since it was first used in the late 1980s, minimally invasive surgery has changed the standards for how many operations are done.

In minimally invasive procedures, your doctor makes one or more incisions, each about a half-inch long, to insert a tube. The number of incisions depends on the type of surgery. The tube or tubes let the doctor slip in tiny video cameras and specially designed surgical instruments to perform the procedure.

Common procedures are:

  • Laparoscopy, in which a telescope with a camera (called a laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision in your belly. This allows the surgeon to visually examine your pelvis (lower belly).
  • Hysteroscopy, in which a different type of telescope with a camera (called a hysteroscope) is inserted through your vagina and cervix. It views the inside your uterus (womb).

An obvious benefit of minimally invasive surgery is that any scars are much smaller than in traditional “open” surgery. A laparoscopy requires one incision below the belly button, then one to three other incisions along the hairline of your lower belly. These incisions are usually 1/4-1/2 inch in length.

Hysteroscopy leaves no scar because the instrument goes through the natural opening in the cervix (neck of the womb) from the vagina into the uterus.

In general, all surgery can cause adhesions or scar tissue on the tissue inside your lower belly. Minimally invasive surgery may cause less scarring.

Because your incisions are smaller, minimally invasive surgery is less painful than open surgery. This means you probably will need less pain medication and will likely recover more quickly.

Minimally invasive surgery should have less operative trauma for the patient than an equivalent invasive procedure. It may be more or less expensive. Operative time is longer, but hospitalization time is shorter. It causes less pain and scarring, speeds recovery, and reduces the incidence of post-surgical complications, such as adhesions.

However, minimally invasive surgery is not necessarily minor surgery that only regional anesthesia is required. In fact, most of these procedures still requires general anesthesia to be administered beforehand.

After your minimally invasive surgery, you probably will be able to go home within 24 hours. If you have open surgery, you may have to stay in the hospital for 2 to 5 days. With minimally invasive surgery, you can recover at home, and you are less likely to have problems after surgery, such as infection or blood clots in your legs.

Minimally invasive surgery is more risky for patients who are obese or who have had previous “open” surgery in the upper or lower part of their belly or other medical problems. Your doctor may have other reasons to choose open, and not minimally invasive, surgery. Not all surgeries can be done with minimally invasive techniques. Other risks and complications include: anesthesia or medication reactions; bleeding; infection; internal organ injury; blood vessel injury; vein or lung blood clotting and breathing problems.

Surgeons need special training and lots of practice before they can perform minimally invasive surgery; therefore, not all doctors are qualified to do these types of procedures. Also, not all hospitals have the special equipment necessary to do these kinds of surgeries. That is why patients should do their research prior to a procedure to find out if a particular surgeon or hospital is the right choice.

For more on medical safety procedures, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach medical malpractice attorney.

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