Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery is any surgical technique that does not require a large incision. In general, this approach is safer than open surgery and allows the patient to recover faster with less pain, scarring or blood loss, and a lower risk of infection. It is often done on an outpatient basis or with a very short hospital stay.

In minimally invasive surgery, surgeons operate through tiny incisions. Tiny instruments, such as video cameras and cutting tools, are slipped through the incisions. Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery.

Not all conditions are suitable for minimally invasive surgery, but continual innovations and new technology add to the number almost daily. Some procedures that can be performed as minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Anti-reflux surgery – to repair a hiatal hernia
  • Bronchoscopy – the examination of the main airways of the lungs to evaluate, diagnose and/or treat lung problems
  • Cancer surgery – to remove a tumor
  • Chest (thoracic) surgery
  • Colectomy – to remove parts of a diseased colon
  • Colon and rectal surgery
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery
  • Endoscopy – to examine the organs of the digestive tract
  • Endovascular surgery – to replace a heart valve or repair an aneurysm
  • Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) – to remove gallstones
  • Gastroenterologic surgery – for gastric bypass and Crohn's disease
  • Gynecologic surgery
  • Heart surgery
  • Nephrectomy – to remove a kidney as treatment or for donation
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic surgery – to inspect or repair a knee, shoulder or hip joint
  • Splenectomy – to remove the spleen
  • Urologic surgery

Technologies for Minimally Invasive Surgery

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What to Expect for Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Side Effects and Risk Factors for Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Education and Resources for Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Learn More about Minimally Invasive Surgery

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