Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery refers to surgery with a small or no incision. It has started a massive marketing drive in the Healthcare Industry.

It has been defined as “an advanced technique that enables patients to experience faster recoveries and less scarring than what is entailed during traditional invasive procedures.” Also, as “performed through tiny incisions instead of one large opening. Because the incisions are small, patients tend to have quicker recovery times and less discomfort than with conventional surgery.”

To understand the potential value of minimally invasive surgery, one needs to understand a few basic facts:

1. Incisions heal side to side, not lengthwise. In other words, a one inch incision, theoretically heals as fast as a 4 inch incision.

2. Some procedures cannot be done through tiny incisions. The nature of the anatomy and the required surgery may require a wider approach. Imagine trying to replace a door hinge through the keyhole! It cannot be done.

3. Some procedures cannot be done safely through tiny incisions. The visibility through a small incision may not be adequate enough to perform a procedure while protecting important structures such as nerves and arteries…

4. Many of these minimally invasive procedures were developed because of the availability of some surgical equipment and aggressive marketing, rather than a specific tool being developed to improve the outcome of a procedure.

5. Some minimally invasive procedures do improve the safety and outcome of surgery.

As patients, we should keep an open mind as we should the most appropriate approach to our specific needs. Foremost, we need to find a surgeon we trust. The choice of surgical approach should be I conjunction with the surgeon. The surgeon should discuss with each patient all available options for a particular condition (in that specific patient), whether minimally invasive or not.