Health and Medicine

Surgery and Other Treatments

How does minimally invasive surgery differ from traditional, major, open surgery?

Traditional, major, open surgery requires a major incision in the body, often several inches long, allowing surgeons to physically place their hands inside the body to work. In minimally invasive surgery, the incision is very small and surgeons do not place their hands inside the body. Using a laparoscope, a narrow wand containing a video camera, surgeons are able to insert tools into tiny surgical openings to remove diseased tissue. Laparoscopy was introduced in the 1970s for gynecological treatment and gall bladder removal. At least half of all surgeries are now minimally invasive (laparoscopic or arthroscopic) with a wide range of applications—gall bladder removal, appendix removal, hernia repair, gynecological, colon removal, partial lung removal, spleen removal, and surgery for chronic heartburn or reflux disease.

The major advantage of minimally invasive surgery is that it is less traumatic to the patient. There is less scarring, and recovery time is much quicker. Hospital stays are shorter.


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