Minimally invasive surgery involves performing procedures through a series of small (less than a half-inch) incisions instead of a single large incision, which can be up to 24 inches long, depending on the type of surgery.
Procedures are performed with a combination of thin tubes with cameras, surgical instruments and retractors, making this approach possible. In robot-assisted procedures, the surgeon manipulates these thin tubes with robotic arms that perform procedures with precision and no risk of tremor.
The advantages of minimally invasive surgery include less postoperative pain, faster recovery and restoration and reduced incisional complications compared to traditional open surgery. For surgeons, the minimally invasive approach allows for improved visibility due to better lighting and magnification with the cameras. Since each person operating can visualize the area of interest equally, there is potentially greater safety with this approach than with open surgery.
There are very few additional risks to minimally invasive surgery. Most patients tolerate minimally invasive procedures far better than they would traditional open surgical procedures. It is important to discuss health issues with your physician prior to undergoing surgery of any kind.
Most surgical procedures can be performed with a minimally invasive approach. This involves operations removing or reconstructing the esophagus, stomach, gall bladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, small and large intestine, appendix, adrenal glands, kidneys, bladder, and male and female genitourinary organs.
Single laparoscopic incision transabdominal surgery (SLITS) and Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) are areas of active research in Minimally Invasive Surgery. SLITS allows for minimally invasive procedures to be completed through a single site on the abdominal wall further reducing the incisional morbidity associated with surgery. In some cases, the incision is buried in the umbilicus and is invisible after the operation. Currently, SLITS is used for operations involving gall bladder removal, gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and appendectomy.
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