Definition of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery – Any operation in which the surgeon uses an endoscope and specialized instruments to enter the body through small incisions, called ports.

An endoscope is a lighted, flexible tube with a tiny camera at the tip that sends visual images of the operative site to a monitor similar to a television screen. The endoscope is specialized for the procedure, such as a laparoscope for operations within the abdominal cavity.

The surgeon watches the images on the screen rather than seeing the operative site directly. Minimally invasive surgery is in contrast to open surgery, in which the surgeon makes an incision large enough to allow direct access to the operative site.

Surgeons must receive specific training in the minimally invasive procedures they perform, which require special equipment and instruments. Surgeons sometimes combine minimally invasive procedures with laser surgery, assisted open surgery, or other operative techniques.

Recovery time is typically faster and less painful than with open surgery as there is less intrusion into the body. Many minimally invasive surgery operations are ambulatory surgeries that do not require an overnight stay in the hospital. As is the case with any surgery, minimally invasive procedures carry some risk for anesthesia complications, bleeding, and infection.


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