When preparing for surgery, you’ll probably hear terms like minimally invasive and open to describe the procedure. But what are they and what are the differences between minimally invasive and open surgery? Knowing what these terms mean can help you relax and trust the capable hands of your surgeon.
Minimally invasive surgery is a relatively new surgical method that allows for faster procedures and recovery times. Surgeons use a special tool called a laparoscope to help surgeons perform procedures using very small incisions. Open surgery is what we traditionally think of as surgery, with doctors creating a large opening in which to operate.
To help you know the difference between minimally invasive and open surgery, we’ll look at:
- What is minimally invasive surgery?
- Benefits of minimally invasive surgery.
- What is open surgery?
What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery?
Minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery involves making multiple small incisions in order to perform a surgical procedure. Laparoscopic surgery gets its name from the laparoscope, which is a revolutionary tool used to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Laparoscopes are tiny fiber optic tools with a camera and light on the end. The camera transmits high-definition images to a video monitor in real-time, allowing our surgeons to perform surgery with the same precision as an open surgical procedure.
Minimally invasive surgery isn’t always an option for patients. However, it’s become much more prevalent over the years thanks to the benefits for patients, as well as its versatility.
Minimally Invasive Surgery in Evansville, Indiana
At Evansville Surgical Associates, all of our surgeons are expertly and uniquely qualified to perform your minimally invasive procedure.
Technically all our general surgeons are trained in laparoscopic surgery. Probably should add all of them.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery comes with tons of benefits that appeal to most patients. This is thanks in large part to the small incisions it makes use of. At the largest, incisions are about 3 cm and heal much faster than incisions made during open surgery. Surgeons usually make incisions in the abdomen around the belly button.
To give the laparoscope a better view, carbon dioxide is used to inflate the walls of the abdomen. This helps your surgeon see what’s being transmitted on the screen much more clearly as well as have more room to do their work. They will make more tiny incisions as needed for tools and anything else they may need to complete the procedure.
Smaller incisions also have the benefit of:
- Lower risk of bleeding during and after surgery
- Less pain after surgery
- Smaller scars
- Decreased risk of infection
- Shorter hospitals stays
Risk of Bleeding
Larger incisions increase the chances of needing a blood transfusion to make up for blood loss. Smaller incisions greatly reduce this risk and can make you feel much more secure about your upcoming surgical procedure.
Pain After Surgery
For some patients, recovering from surgery can seem more difficult than the procedure itself due the pain involved. Larger incisions can require you to be on long-term pain medication while you wait for your wound to heal. On the other hand, smaller incisions heal much more quickly and with less pain.
Some people may find large surgical scars ugly and embarrassing. Not only that, but the healing process for larger incisions can increase your chances of problems such as herniation. Small incisions greatly reduce the appearance of scars and risks during the healing process.
Large incisions can allow for external contaminants to come into contact with internal organs, resulting in infection. Smaller incisions significantly reduce this risk since germs and bacteria have much less room to enter your body.
Shorter Hospital Stays
No one likes having to stay in the hospital longer than they have to. Thanks to minimally invasive surgery, most patients are able to leave the hospital the next day or even the same day as their procedure. This means you can get back to the life you love much faster than with traditional surgical procedures.
What Is Open Surgery?
Open surgery is what most people imagine when they think of surgical procedures. This type of surgery involves making a single, large incision (about 4 inches) in the abdomen. An incision for open surgery allows surgeons to see the tissues and structures in the body so that they can perform the procedure.
Do I Need Open Surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery has replaced open surgery in many cases. This is thanks to the benefits mentioned above, and advances in medical technology will likely only cause this to increase.
On the other hand, it’s unlikely that minimally invasive procedures will completely replace open surgery any time soon. This is due to the fact that open surgery is much more useful for:
- Making effective repairs
- Completely removing tissue
- Making accurate diagnoses
- Implanting stents and other materials
Gallbladder surgery is a perfect example of this. Most of these surgeries are performed laparoscopically. However, according to the University of Michigan School of Medicine, 5 – 10 out of 100 of those end up requiring a larger incision. In these cases, the surgeon simply switches and makes a larger incision to complete the procedure.
In the end, neither form of surgery is better than the other. While minimally invasive surgery may be preferable, it’s not always the best option for patients. Here at Evansville Surgical Associates, you can rest easy knowing that you have a team of board certified surgeons planning and operating with your best interests in mind.
Finding a surgeon with the knowledge and experience you can trust is important for any type of surgery. Contact us today to see how our surgeons at Evansville Surgical Associates can help you live a happy, healthy life.
Established in 1969, Evansville Surgical Associates celebrates 50 years of providing leading-edge comprehensive and compassionate surgical care. Learn more about our physicians and our practices by visiting our website, or by calling us at 812.424.8231 or 800.264.8231.