It’s not uncommon to expect sutures (cuts on the body) when a surgical procedure is carried out. However, with consistent improvement in technology, Doctors now have ways of carrying out a number of surgical procedures with less incisions on the body. This is called minimally invasive surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery allows surgeons to use modern technology and advanced surgical techniques to operate on the human body in a less harmful way. This type of surgery limits the number and size of incisions made, which reduces the risk of complications and damage to surrounding muscle and tissue.
Since the 1980’s when it was introduced, many doctors have come to prefer minimally invasive techniques as a safe and effective way to meet patients’ surgical needs with fewer health risks.
Laparoscopy — surgery done through one or more small incisions, using small tubes and tiny cameras and surgical instruments — was one of the first types of minimally invasive surgery. Another type of minimally invasive surgery is robotic surgery. It provides a magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site and helps the surgeon operate with precision, flexibility and control.
TYPES OF MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY
Surgeons perform many minimally invasive surgeries, some of which are:
- Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) to remove gallstones that cause pain
- Gastroenterologic surgery, including for gastric bypass
- Cataract surgery
- Heart surgery
- Kidney transplant
- Nephrectomy (kidney removal)
- Orthopedic surgery
ADVANTAGES OF MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERIES
1. Smaller incisions: Surgeons don’t need to make a large incision to perform minimally invasive procedures. Instead, they only need to make a small incision just big enough to insert cameras, tubes and other small surgical tools. Additionally, fiber-optic cameras allow surgeons to get the same clear visualization of internal organs as large incisions do for open surgeries.
2. Fewer complications: A small incision reduces the amount of bleeding and swelling during surgery. Additionally, because surgeons won’t need to cut through muscle to make a large incision. Which means it cause less damage and trauma to surrounding organs, muscle, nerves, tendons and soft tissues.
3. Decreased risk of infection. Smaller open wounds decrease the risk of bacteria and viruses entering the body and causing infection.
4. A shorter hospital stay: Some minimally invasive surgeries don’t require a hospital visit at all, which vastly reduces overhead costs. If procedures are performed in a hospital, the length of the stay is shorter than for patients who undergo open surgeries and therefore more cost-efficient. Many patients won’t even require an overnight stay.
5. Less recovery and downtime: Many patients who undergo minimally invasive procedures have a shorter recovery period with fewer activity restrictions. And they experience less postoperative pain and swelling, and are able to return to normal activities within a few days. Because there’s less pain, many patients don’t require narcotic medications after surgery. Which is an added benefit because narcotics can be dangerous and highly addictive.
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