Frequently asked questions about Minimally Invasive Surgery


What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is a type of surgery that uses special tools designed to decrease the size of incisions and reduce how much the body’s tissues can become damaged. One kind of minimally invasive surgery involves the use of a “scope,” a viewing device that allows surgeons to look inside the body without opening it up all the way. Another type, called “endovascular surgery,” uses X-rays to see inside the body while the surgeon uses special devices that fit inside the blood vessels. This article is about the type of surgery that involves scopes.

Several different types of scopes work in roughly the same way. They consist of a long, thin tube with a tiny camera and a light on the end. The camera sends pictures of the inside of the body to a TV screen. When doing this type of surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision just big enough for the scope to fit through. He or she also makes two or more other incisions through which slim tools can fit. These tools include clamps, scissors, and stitching devices, which the surgeon can control from outside the body. While looking at the picture on the screen, the surgeon uses those tools to perform the operation.

Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive technique using a telescope that the surgeon controls from a consul and allows the surgeon to make more precise movements, controls for surgeon tremor, and allows the use of hinged or wristed instruments that improve the ease of procedures and allow additional angles to be used compared to conventional minimally invasive surgery.

What are the different types of gynecologic minimally invasive scope surgery?

Many different types of scopes are available today. Their names are based on the body parts involved. The scopes used for the different types of surgery are named that way, too:

  • Laparoscopes are used in the belly for “laparoscopic surgery.” (“Lapara” is Greek for the space between the bottom of the rib cage and the hips.) This type of surgery can be used to remove the gallbladder, appendix, or uterus or to do lots of other different procedures.
  • Hysteroscopes are used in the uterus and vagina for “hysteroscopic surgery.” (“Hystera” is Greek for womb, or uterus.) This type of surgery can be used to remove abnormal growths in the uterus or to do a number of different procedures on the uterus and vagina.
  • Robotic assisted Laparoscopic is used for many complex laparoscopic procedures that would be more difficult or not possible by the conventional technique.

How is minimally invasive surgery different from regular surgery?

In general – but not always – this type of surgery makes recovery easier. That’s because:

  • It usually involves several small wounds, rather than one big one
  • The inside of the body is not as exposed to open air as it is with regular surgery
  • The organs don’t get moved around as much

Despite all of the differences with regular surgery, minimally invasive surgery is still surgery. People who have it do have some pain, they often need stitches, and they can develop infections or other problems because of the surgery.

Can patients always choose to have minimally invasive surgery?

No. Many procedures can now be done through a minimally invasive approach, but it’s not always up to the patient to choose what type of surgery to have. Whether or not a patient can have this type of surgery will depend on:

  • Whether a surgeon is available who has enough experience doing the type of surgery a patient needs
  • Why the patient needs surgery. (As an example, patients who need surgery to remove very large cancers cannot always have minimally invasive procedures.)
  • What other health problems the patient might have

Even when a patient starts out having minimally invasive surgery, the procedure may not stay that way. Sometimes, surgeons start out doing minimally invasive surgery then realize they need to switch to open surgery. This doesn’t mean the surgeon has done anything wrong; it’s just something that sometimes happens after a surgery begins.

If you go in for minimally invasive surgery, be prepared to wake up and find out that you had open surgery. This could happen for a few different reasons, such as:

  • The surgeon found something unexpected when he or she got started
  • The surgeon couldn’t see well enough or properly treat the organ he or she was trying to operate on
  • Bleeding occurred that could not be controlled with a minimally invasive approach

The important thing to remember is that if a surgeon switches to regular surgery, it is usually to protect the safety of the patient.


This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Nov 21, 2018.