Over the last few decades, advancements have been made in surgical procedures that make them safer and easier for patients. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has become the standard for many procedures traditionally done with an open technique. These procedures include robotic surgery, endoscopic surgery, and laparoscopic surgery.
Minimally invasive surgeries only require small incisions because advanced instruments allow surgeons to work without opening up the abdomen or other areas they’re operating on. Cameras, computers, and instruments capable of very precise movements make these procedures possible. There are many benefits of minimally invasive surgery.
1. Many Procedures are Available
There are many procedures that can be done using robotics or minimally invasive techniques instead of a traditional open technique. Minimally invasive surgery can be done on the digestive system, urologic system, heart, lungs, kidneys, and the gynecologic system. Common gynecologic procedures that can be done with robotic assistance include:
2. Smaller Incisions
One of the benefits of minimally invasive surgery is that it only requires small incisions. Traditional open surgery usually requires larger incisions to access the body part being operated on. For instance, a traditional open hysterectomy requires a six to twelve-inch incision.
Because robotic and laparoscopic procedures use specialized small tools, the surgeon can access body parts through smaller openings. A hysterectomy done with the da Vinci robotic system requires incisions that are less than an inch long (about the size of a dime). Procedures may require multiple small incisions, but this is still preferable to a long incision in an open procedure. Many of the other benefits of minimally invasive procedures are related to these small incisions.
3. Less Scarring
When there are smaller incisions, there is less scarring. Small incisions require fewer stitches that are often the cause of scars. If the incisions do leave scars, their small size will make them far less noticeable than a single long incision from open surgery. But often the scars fade and are almost invisible within a few months.
4. Increased Accuracy, Decreased Risk of Complications
In minimally invasive procedures that utilize special cameras, the surgeon is able to get a better view of the organ they are operating on. The advanced instruments used in these procedures also allow for more delicate and complex work to be done correctly. Therefore, these surgeries are more accurate and produce better outcomes.
Blood loss, which can be a serious complication during surgery, is also minimized when small incisions are used. The surgical incisions left by a minimally invasive procedure heal faster and are less likely to become infected than large incisions.
5. Shorter Hospital Stays
Patients undergoing MIS have shorter hospital stays than those who have traditional abdominal procedures. Many patients can go home after only one night spent in the hospital. Not only will you be able to enjoy the comfort of your home, but a shorter hospital stay generally results in less expense. Open or abdominal procedures may require 2 or 3 nights in the hospital.
6. Less Pain
Patients who have a minimally invasive procedure have less pain and discomfort than patients that had open surgery. This may be because there is often less trauma to the body during minimally invasive surgery. Some open procedures require large sections of muscles and tissue to be cut. The cameras and smaller instruments used in minimally invasive procedures make cutting large portions of tissue unnecessary. Smaller wounds cause less pain and heal faster.
Because MIS is associated with faster healing, the duration of post-surgery pain and discomfort may also shorter. This means that there is less need for pain medication, which has its own benefits.
7. Shorter Recovery Period
Finally, one of the most attractive benefits of minimally invasive surgery is the shorter recovery period. For all of the reasons mentioned above, the incisions and trauma from MIS heal much more quickly than an open procedure. That means patients can return to their normal activities much more quickly than they would have been able to with traditional surgery. For example, a traditional abdominal hysterectomy usually requires a recovery period of 6 to 8 weeks while a minimally invasive hysterectomy takes 3 to 4 weeks to recover from.
At Kernolde OB/GYN, we offer comprehensive obstetric and gynecologic care for our patients. Our expert physicians are experienced in performing advanced laparoscopic surgery, robot-assisted surgery with the da Vinci SI HD system, and minimally invasive hysterectomy. If you have questions about these procedures or any of our other gynecologic services, call us at (336) 538-2367 to make an appointment.