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What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is surgery performed using tiny tools and several small incisions instead of one large one. First performed in the 1980s, minimally invasive surgery has now become commonly used for all kinds of procedures because it offers so many benefits over traditional surgery.

Since minimally invasive surgery minimizes the amount of injury that a patient experiences by avoiding a large incision, it typically results in fewer issues after surgery. There tend to be fewer stitches needed, less scarring, less pain, a faster recovery time, and a lower risk of infection. Some minimally invasive procedures even require less anesthesia than usual.

There are three main types of minimally invasive surgery:
  • Laparoscopic surgery, where several small incisions are made. A tiny camera is inserted into one, and the surgeon looks at the procedure on a video screen while moving tools through the other openings.
  • Endoscopic surgery, which is performed using an endoscope. An endoscope is a thin, hollow tube that contains a camera. It can be inserted either through a small incision or an existing opening such as the nose. Tiny tools can be passed through the tube to the area that needs to be worked on.
  • Robotic surgery, which uses tools that are even smaller and more precise than laparoscopic tools. The tools and camera are inserted through a small opening, and then the surgeon controls the robot from a computer in another room.

Minimally invasive surgery is not the right choice in every situation. However in many cases, it makes surgery less difficult to handle.