How Minimally Invasive Procedures Work
Minimally invasive procedures, which include laparoscopic surgery, use state-of-the-art technology to reduce the damage to human tissue when performing surgery. For example, in most procedures, a surgeon makes several small ¾ inch incisions and inserts thin tubes called trocars. Carbon dioxide gas may be used to inflate the area, creating a space between the internal organs and the skin. Then a miniature camera (usually a laparoscope or endoscope) is placed through one of the trocars so the surgical team can view the procedure as a magnified image on video monitors in the operating room. Then, specialized instruments are placed through the other trocars to perform the procedures. In some cases, such as minimally invasive colon surgery, a slightly larger incision may be needed.
There are some advanced minimally invasive surgical procedures that can be performed almost exclusively through a single point of entry – meaning only one small incision. This is called Single Site Laparoscopy, and is another approach to performing traditional laparoscopic surgery using the same tools.
Benefits of minimally invasive procedures
Not only do these procedures usually provide equivalent outcomes to traditional “open” surgery (which sometimes require a large incision), but minimally invasive procedures (using small incisions) may offer significant benefits as well:
- Quicker Recovery – Since a minimally invasive procedure requires smaller incisions than conventional surgery (usually about the diameter of a dime), your body may heal much faster.
- Shorter Hospital Stays – Minimally invasive procedures help get you out of the hospital and back to your life sooner than conventional surgery.
- Less scarring – Most incisions are so small that it’s hard to even notice them after the incisions have healed.
- Less pain – Because these procedures are less invasive than conventional surgery, there is typically less pain involved.