Education: Minimally Invasive Surgery
Advances in technology and instrumentation have made it possible
for skilled surgeons to perform some complex operations with less
dissection and destruction of deep tissues and smaller skin incisions.
The advantages of these new techniques may include less pain and
bleeding, faster healing, and a lower complication rate.
Not all procedures lend themselves to these special techniques,
not all patients are candidates, and not all surgeons have the training
or experience to perform them. On occasion a procedure must be modified
to a greater or lesser extent to deal with anatomic or clinical
variations or problems. It is not possible to guarantee cosmetic
or functional results.
Minimally invasive surgery should not be confused with microsurgery.
Micro refers to the use of an operating microscope. This kind of
surgery is often employed to repair cut nerves or blood vessels
with extremely fine sutures. Paradoxically, these procedures often
require very large incisions with extensive dissection of deep tissues
to expose work on the damaged structures.
Another confusing term is Mini-incision surgery. By definition,
this a technique in which a smaller skin incision is made, but the
deeper dissection and disruption of tissues is the same as in larger
incision surgery. Studies have demonstrated the cosmetic benefits
of these procedures, but not the other possible benefits a minimally
invasive procedure might offer.