Minimally invasive surgery uses small incisions to perform surgical repairs with very small tools. Surgeons use small scopes with tiny cameras to view internal organs and diagnose problems, which can usually be treated during the same procedure. Common procedures that use the minimally invasive technique are laparoscopy and hysteroscopy.
A laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen, allowing the doctor to examine that organs found in the abdomen region.
A hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus, allowing the doctor to view the inside of the uterus.
Less scarring and recovery time are the main benefits of minimally invasive surgery. Generally, all forms of surgery to the abdomen can leave adhesions or scar tissue. However, minimally invasive procedures leave much smaller incision scars than traditional surgery. A laparoscopy requires a quarter- to a half-inch incision below the belly button, and one to three incisions of a similar length along the lower belly hairline. Hysteroscopy is performed through the natural openings of the vagina and cervix to gain access to the uterus, and so does not leave an incision scar.
Recovery time is also greatly reduced with minimally invasive surgeries. The chance of infection or blood clots from the surgery are less likely, so patients are allowed to go home after a brief stay in the recovery room, as apposed to the two to five day hospital stay with traditional open surgery. In addition, minimally invasive surgeries cause less pain than open surgery, so the need for pain medication and healing time is also reduced.
Patients who are obese or have had previous open surgery on their abdomen or belly, or who have had other medical problems may be at an increased risk when it comes to minimally invasive surgery.
Not all conditions can be treated using minimally invasive surgery techniques, and sometimes open surgery is the better solution. The availability of minimally invasive surgery is limited to the surgeon’s experience (they must have special training and have practiced in order to perform this type of procedure) and if the hospital has the special equipment necessary to perform the operation.