That's "Not" Gonna Leave A Mark - Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques

Michelle Hopkins

Even though any surgical procedure is a major medical event, gynecological surgeries, particularly hysterectomies have traditionally been some of the most invasive. Because of the requirement of a significant incision, the surgery involved large scars, intense pain and long recovery times. Over time, new techniques have been developed to make these procedures not only less invasive as to the scarring and amount of trauma to tissue but also allows the surgeon to be more precise. These new techniques have progressed and improved with each new method:

  • Laparoscopic Surgery - sometimes referred to as band-aid or keyhole surgery, this procedure uses small incisions through which a lighted camera and very narrow surgical instruments are inserted.  The camera projects an image of the internal organs onto a television screen which allows the surgeon to see the inside of the patient without the traditional long incision. Not only is this technique less invasive on the patient's body, it is also less invasive on their pocketbook as the reduced recovery and hospital time make it much less expensive.
  • Single Port Laparoscopic Surgery - this procedure made hysterectomies even less invasive as now the surgery only requires one incision.  Both the camera and the surgical instruments are inserted through the same incision. While the required incision is larger to accommodate both items, the need for only one incision is an improvement from a cosmetic standpoint with fewer scars but also from a medical standpoint as fewer incisions mean less potential complications.
  • Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery - the latest advance in the field of gynecological as well as other surgeries is the use of robotic instruments to perform the surgeries through the laparoscopic incisions. As the only FDA approved robotic system, the da Vinci surgical system allows the surgeon to sit at a console and use his hands to manipulate the controller. The movements of the surgeon's fingers dictate the movement of the robotic instrument. The first major benefit is the da Vinci produces a 3D image of the surgical site whereas traditional laparoscopic cameras are only 2D.  The second benefit is a da Vinci robotic instrument will have up to 4 joints as opposed to the single straight instruments. Both of these benefits allow the surgeon to be much more precise and less invasive. Also with the da Vinci surgeons do not need to be in the same room as the patient they do not even need to be on the same continent as evidenced by a surgeon in New York City performing surgery on a patient in Paris.

All of these advances in technology have greatly reduced the invasive nature of surgery but it is still surgery so there will continue to be research and development to make it even less invasive. Contact a medical office like Van Wert County Hospital for more information and assistance.