What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?
Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) encompasses to methods: laparoscopic surgery or keyhole surgery and robotic assisted surgery. Both methods are designed to achieve surgical correction of hernias through very small incisions.
Today, the most common minimally invasive performed abdominal surgery is laparoscopic gallbladder removal, referred to as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Approximately 1 million cases are performed annually 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.
Today, many hernia procedures can be performed using both laparoscopic as well as robotic techniques. In skilled hands, even the most complex hernias can be managed using a minimally invasive approach.
Minimally Invasive Surgery: The Future is Now
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. Laparoscopic and robotic assisted surgery offer surgeons incredible visualization. The surgical field is magnified by the lens of the 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, laparoscopic and robotic assisted surgery 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 and robotic assisted surgery has been a “win-win” situation for the patient and surgeon.