What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?
Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) also referred to as laparoscopic surgery or keyhole surgery is a surgical method to achieve the desired end result through very small incisions.
Today, the most common procedure performed laparoscopically is gallbladder removal referred to as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. On an annual basis approximately 1 million cases are performed in the United States. Prior to widespread use of Minimally Invasive Surgery, gallbladders were removed via a right upper quadrant or midline incision of about 6 to 10 inches in length. The incision itself made for a relatively longer post-op course for those patients. Hospital recovery time was often 2 to 10 days.
Minimally Invasive Surgery: The Surgery for the Future
Laparoscopy or Minimally Invasive Surgery has become the preferred method for a number of commonly performed surgical procedures. All surgical sub-specialties have developed and perfected methods to successfully accomplish what was once routinely performed through larger incisions with equal if not better results.
As of now, the surgical literature has demonstrated equivalence if not superiority in laparoscopic vs open surgery for the overwhelming majority of cases commonly performed. The benefits are:
- reduced post-operative pain
- reduced need for pain medications
- earlier return to work and activity
- lower wound complications (hernia, soft tissue infection)
- improved cosmetics from surgical scars
- lower likelihood of developing intra-abdominal scar tissue
Minimally Invasive Surgery has also added tremendous technical benefits to the surgeon. Laparoscopy offers the surgeon incredible visualization. The surgical field is magnified by the lens of the laparoscopic camera in order of 5 to 7 times. This allows the surgeon to appreciate various tissue planes, small branches off of larger vessels and pathology that might otherwise be under appreciated at standard magnification. In addition, laparoscopy permits operating in various parts of the abdomen that are quite difficult to reach and manipulate even through the largest incision.
Overall, the ability to perform laparoscopic surgery has been a “win-win” situation for the patient and surgeon.