If you’re faced with the uncertainty of an upcoming surgery, you may be concerned about what the road to recovery will look like. Surgeries often require incisions to a large portion of the body in order for your surgeon to reach the root of the problem. These large incisions during traditional “open” procedures often leave patients with excess scarring, prolonged recovery periods, additional pain, and a significant risk of developing an incisional hernia. However, for many patients, there are alternatives.
Laparoscopic surgery, a specific type of minimally invasive surgery, uses a laparoscope, a thin tube fixed with a light and camera and several other small surgical instruments.
This minimally invasive surgery allows surgeons to maintain effective surgical results while producing less damage to the surrounding area.
During a minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon will make at least one tiny incision into the skin. They will then examine the inside of your body using a slender, telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope to provide them with a large range of vision, given the small entry point. Your surgeon will then use small instruments to perform the surgery through one or more small incisions.
Benefits to laparoscopic and other types of minimally invasive surgeries include:
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
- Less bleeding
- Less trauma to the patient
- Reduced post-operation pain
- Less pain-reducing medication
- Reduced risk of infection
- Shorter hospital stay
Types of minimally invasive surgery
Common procedures where you may elect to have minimally invasive surgery performed include gallbladder removal, hernias, colorectal, and other general procedures. For example, surgery after a groin hernia would traditionally require four to six weeks for recovery. But with minimally invasive techniques, patients now may only take a week to recover. Gallbladder removal has been one of the surgeries most improved by application of minimally invasive techniques. Before this technology was available, one large incision had to be made in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. Now, three to six tiny incisions are made, and the scarring is minimal. And recovery time has been reduced from four to six weeks to one to two weeks.
It is important to note, although minimally invasive surgery comes with many benefits, it may not be right for every patient. Your surgeon will determine the best type of surgery based on your unique condition.