What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

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What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery, as the name suggests, is a surgery that allows the surgeon to perform surgery through bare minimal invasiveness. Surgery is performed through the use of techniques that limit the size and number of cuts, or incisions, that is generally needed to be made. It is typically considered safer than open surgery. As such, the patient most often tends to recover more quickly, spend lesser time in the hospital, and feels more comfortable during the healing period.

In minimally invasive surgery, surgeons use a variety of techniques to operate with less damage to the body as opposed to the damages done in open surgery. In general, minimally invasive surgery is associated with less pain, a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications.

A bit of history

Minimally invasive surgery emerged sometime in the 1980s as a safe and effective technique to meet the surgical needs of quite a lot of patients.

In the last 20 years, more and more advancements have been happening in the minimally invasive surgery leading to more improved techniques being put in place. A continuous process of upgradation in the techniques and approach to minimally invasive surgery has enabled it to be the preferred choice of patients and doctors alike. With so many benefits more and more surgeons have come to choose it to traditional (open) surgery, which requires larger incisions and, usually, a longer hospital stay.

Since then the use of minimally invasive surgery has been expanding widely in many surgical specialties with the use of more sophisticated and advanced equipments and techniques.

What happens during Minimally Invasive Surgery?

The patient undergoing minimally invasive surgery will be given anaesthesia to "sleep" through the procedure. Surgeons can put an endoscope into the body small incision (tiny cuts) in the body surface, like adbomen or chest typically a few millimeters long. Then the surgeon will insert an endoscope (a long, thin tube fixed with a camera and light) into one of the incisions. Images from the endoscope are sent to monitors in the operating room so that the surgeon can get a clear and magnified view of the area needing surgery/surgical site. The surgeon will then insert surgical instruments through the other incisions, allowing the surgeon to perform the surgery.

In minimally invasive procedures, special surgical tools or instruments are inserted through other small incisions. The surgeon uses these to explore, remove, or repair a problem inside the body.

An Insight

In minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon uses small tools, cameras, and lights that fit through several tiny cuts in the skin. This allows the surgeon to perform surgery without cutting open a lot of skin and muscle.

In traditional open surgery, the surgeon makes one large cut to see the part of the body that the surgeon would operate on.

Continual innovations in minimally invasive surgery make it beneficial for people with a wide range of conditions. If there is a need of surgery for the patient and the patient feels minimally invasive surgery is the right approach and that the patient is the right candidate then the patient needs to talk to the doctor.

What is Minimally Invasive Surgery


With evolving times, continuous innovations and advancement in the technology minimally invasive surgeries are being done with more advanced and state of the art technology, which can be classified under in the types of minimally invasive surgery. Let us know more about them.

Minimally invasive surgery usually falls into these categories:

Endoscopy: The surgeon uses the endoscope itself to do the procedure. The endoscope goes in through the body's natural openings, without the surgeon making any cuts. Example: endoscopic skull base surgeries, transoral robotic surgery, transoral laser surgeries.
Laparoscopy: Using small cuts (sometimes called "keyhole" cuts or incisions), the surgeon guides the endoscope and special surgery tools into the body. Ex thoracosocpic surgery, laparoscopic abdominal / pelvic surgeries.
Robot-assisted surgery (robotic surgery): The surgeon makes several small cuts to guide the camera and robotic tools into the body. From there, the surgeon controls the surgery while sitting at a nearby computer console.

Minimally invasive surgeries are becoming more common than the open surgeries. Like Laparoscopy technique, Robotic and endoscopic technology is advancing at a fast pace, too, so that these surgeries are easier for the surgeon and safer for the patient.

Robotic technology allows more precise control over the surgery.

Minimally invasive surgery - Laparoscopic surgery in Oncology

A common belief is that minimally invasive surgeries or laparoscopic surgeries are not safe in cancer. But this is not true. The surgical procedure, extent of removal of tumor remains the same in both open and minimal access surgery. The only difference between the two is the external approach with respect to the incision. Hence, MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY IS SAFE IN CANCER SURGERIES, WHEN INDICATED.

Why is it done?

Minimally invasive procedures (also known as minimally invasive surgeries) encompass surgical techniques that limit the size of incisions needed and so lessen wound healing time, associated pain, and also the risk of infection. The abdominal wall consists of muscles, which needs to be cut in open surgery which results in more abdominal wall pain. While the small incisions in minimal access surgery is associated with lesser pain due to minimal injury to muscles of abdominal wall. Minimally invasive procedures are considered a lot more safe and also an effective technique in treating major ailments of different specialities through surgical method. Minimally invasive surgery is vouched by many surgical oncologists as well as a more precise and less painful treatment for the cancer patients. Minimally invasive procedures have been enabled by the advancement of various medical technologies.

Let us explore some benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Compared to traditional open surgery minimally invasive surgery offers several benefits to patients and are listed below.

  1. Smaller Incisions
  2. Less Pain
  3. Shorter Hospital Stay
  4. Faster Recovery time
  5. Less Scarring
  6. Higher accuracy rate

Minimally invasive surgeries have now become the standard surgical techniques in many operations for treating both big and small ailments through surgery also for treating benign and cancerous tumours through the surgical method.

With an array of benefits it has to offer, today, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is a viable alternative to many of the conventional open surgical procedures.