Many conditions are best treated by surgery, but it is best to know all your options. Discuss any questions and concerns you may have with your doctor as no question is too small. Be sure that you thoroughly understand the recommended procedure and why your doctor believes it is the right course of treatment for you. Never hesitate to get a second opinion from another surgeon if you are unsure about your options. The more informed you are, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the results of your treatment.
Types of Surgery
“Minimally invasive” means that instead of operating on patients through large incisions, doctors use miniaturized surgical instruments that fit through a series of quarter-inch incisions. Minimally invasive surgical techniques are offered as an alternative to traditional open surgery for a broad range of procedures and includes robotic and laparoscopic surgery.
With any procedure there is risk. Using minimally invasive techniques lowers such risk. In most cases, these techniques involve the use of small tubes called endoscopes, which often have miniature cameras built-in to direct the surgeon as he/she works. With minimally invasive surgery there is often less pain experienced with recovery and a faster recovery time.
Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon controls the instruments and the camera from a console located in the operating room. Placing their fingers into the master controls, the physician is able to operate while watching a high-definition monitor providing a more detailed 3-D view of the operation site than the human eye can provide. Every movement the surgeon makes with the master controls is replicated precisely by the robot.
Since these procedures can now be performed through very small incisions, patients experience a number of benefits compared to open surgery, including:
- Less trauma on the body
- Minimal scarring
- Faster recovery time
- Less pain after surgery
Laparoscopy is a type of surgery that uses smaller incisions than in traditional surgery. The surgeon makes several small incisions; usually each one is no more than a half-inch long. A tube is inserted through each opening in which the camera and surgical instruments enter. When the laparoscope is inserted, the surgeon can then look at a video monitor to guide their movements.
There are several advantages to laparoscopic surgery versus traditional surgery, some which include:
- Smaller scars
- Minimized hospital stay
- Less Pain
- Faster recovery time
- Less internal scarring
With traditional surgery, an incision is made using a scalpel. These incisions can vary in length, depending upon the procedure being performed. Traditional surgeries are less common than they used to be due to the creation of "minimally invasive" surgical techniques. However, while minimally invasive surgery has become increasingly popular, there are a number of situations in which traditional surgery is still preferred, including:
- If repairs simply cannot be made effectively using minimally invasive techniques
- If visual information is required to completely remove tissues or accurately diagnose a condition
- If your surgery requires access to larger areas