The world of Surgery has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last few years. While some procedures are performed as ‘open surgeries’, these days more and more of them are being performed as minimally invasive ones. Surgical techniques are a lot more advanced these days, and even technically difficult surgical procedures are now becoming minimally invasive.
The basic principle behind minimally invasive surgery is simple – access to the area that needs operating upon but through an approach that causes minimal damage to the neighboring tissues and minimal discomfort to the patient. These days, advanced minimally invasive surgery encompasses gynecologic and intrauterine fetal sugery, cardiac surgery, gastrointestinal tract surgery and even brain surgery. The field also includes orthopedic surgery, urology and vascular surgery. These minimally invasive procedures are sometimes called laparoscopic surgeries or ‘key-hole’ surgeries.
Up until recently, minimally invasive surgeries were being performed by surgeons utilizing free hand “straight stick” techniques. However, scientific research and technological advances have resulted in the development of robotic-assisted procedures that are highly accurate, has better instrument and tissue fine control, and have excellent success rates.
There are a number of different advantages to advanced minimally invasive surgery. The trauma that the patient’s tissue suffers from the surgery is minimal. This means that their stay in hospital is shorter, reducing their risk of developing hospital acquired infections or deep vein thrombosis. Many of these procedures can be performed under local anesthesia as well; this reduces the risk of anesthesia-related complications developing during or after the procedure. Some advanced minimally invasive surgical procedures are relatively painless which the patients always appreciate. The amount of blood loss during surgery is also typically low, and hence patients rarely need blood transfusions during or after surgery.
But the benefits of advanced minimally invasive surgery do not end there. Scar formation is an important concern of patients who undergo major open surgery, and minimally invasive surgery produces little or no scarring whatsoever – a feature that is welcomed by patients. Most procedures are affordable to the general public, and hence have become a lot more popular these days.
Advanced minimally invasive surgery requires the use of complex specialized equipment. Surgeons who perform these procedures require specialist training over a few years before they become experts. While this could be construed as a disadvantage, it in fact works for the betterment of the patient. The fact that the surgeon performing the procedure is an expert, the chances of any complications or side effects developing from the surgery are minimal. Despite the cost of surgical equipment utilized is sometimes more expensive than tools utilized in open techniques, the overall cost, taking into consideration all factors, is usually lower than open surgery.
However, advanced minimally invasive procedures are not for everyone. Every patient will need to undergo a detailed examination to assess their suitability for the procedure. For example, patients who have previously undergone open surgery may not be suited for minimally invasive procedures as there would be changes that have taken place within the body at the site of previous surgery that would make it difficult to visualize structures through a minimally invasive approach.
In conclusion, there is clear benefit from advanced minimally invasive surgery, and it is now the preferred method of operating for many conditions in patients who are suitable.