Advances in Minimally Invasive Surgery Techniques

Minimally invasive surgery has become the preferred approach to surgical procedures, providing many advantages like reduced trauma and faster healing times.

Under minimally invasive surgery (MIS), surgeons make small incisions and insert a tube with light and camera attached (a laparoscope), which enables them to view inside your body.

1. Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

Prior to recently, lung surgery required an invasive process called thoracotomy involving large cuts and spreading apart of ribs. Now surgeons use less-invasive approaches to extract cancerous tissues while speeding recovery time.

Minimally invasive thoracic surgery, also known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or robotic thoracoscopic surgery, involves making several small incisions in your chest wall through which a surgeon inserts instruments including an endoscope with a video camera at one end into these incisions.

Stanford thoracic surgeons have extensive experience using VATS and robotic esophagectomy techniques to treat paralyzed diaphragms, achalasia, reflux disease and other conditions of the esophagus. They have published scientific papers about these procedures as leaders teaching others on both an international and national scale.

2. Minimally Invasive Breast Surgery

Whenever there is a lump in the breast, doctors typically suggest minimally invasive surgery to obtain tissue samples for laboratory analysis to ascertain whether or not they contain cancerous cells. Such tests will help establish whether the lump is cancerous.

Under local anesthesia, needle biopsy extracts a small sample from a lump for laboratory analysis. This noninvasive process typically provides results within days.

Your doctor can use either a vacuum-assisted needle biopsy, or a needle-less biopsy device that works through the skin to reduce bleeding or bruising risks. These methods offer greater precision.

3. Minimally Invasive Vascular Surgery

Vascular surgeons now have access to several minimally invasive surgical options to address a wide variety of disorders, with these techniques significantly minimizing damage to surrounding tissue and providing effective options when traditional surgery cannot.

Also known as keyhole or laparoscopic surgery, these procedures require the surgeon to create several small incisions in organs and existing tissues of the body in order to insert surgical tools – including tubes fitted with video cameras – through these openings in order to perform surgery.

A minimally-invasive procedure usually results in less blood loss, lower risks of infection, faster recovery times and decreased need for pain medications. Furthermore, shorter hospital stays and quicker returns to regular life are often achieved as a result.

4. Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Over time, cardiac surgery has shifted towards less invasive approaches. Nowadays, most procedures can be completed through smaller incisions and partial sternotomies (mini-sternotomy).

Our surgeons specialize in endovascular aortic aneurysm repair using minimally invasive techniques. This involves inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in their groin and leading it to the site of the aneurysm, threading a metal stent into place and closing up any blood vessel leakage that has formed around the aneurysm.

Robotic surgery, which uses a laparoscope and tiny surgical instruments to perform, may offer another approach to treating breastbone fractures, potentially leading to less pain, shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries times. Your care team will determine whether this procedure is the appropriate choice for you.

5. Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery

Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, commonly referred to as Endoscopic Surgery, involves employing flexible, lighted tubes (endoscopes) which enable doctors to view the brain and skull base through small openings in small holes. This procedure reduces the need for large incisions and extensive dissection through vital tissues like blood vessels often encountered during traditional open surgeries.

Clinical leaders from neurosurgery and neuroradiology discuss how advances in minimally invasive surgery have transformed their respective subspecialties.

Spine surgeons utilize minimally invasive techniques to treat spine injuries, degenerative spine conditions, spinal tumors and cancers. These procedures involve minimal incisions and muscle damage; thus resulting in shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries as well as less pain medication being necessary than traditional surgeries.

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