Minimally Invasive Surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital
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What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?
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What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgical techniques, commonly referred to as keyhole techniques, belly-button surgery, or laparoscopy, were aggressively developed in the 1990s. Using these techniques, surgeons can diagnose or treat patients, and in some cases remove or repair a part of the body, without performing a major incision during surgery. In fact, they are able to operate through much smaller incisions than ever before.

Traditional abdominal surgery requires a large incision in the abdomen to divide skin and muscle in order to provide the surgeon with a direct view of the body's interior. Using minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon makes several small incisions or uses one of the body's natural openings to insert several long, thin tubes called canulas.

A special needle with carbon dioxide gas is inserted to inflate the body's interior and provide the surgeon with room to operate. The surgeon inserts specialized instruments through the canulas to operate on the body's internal region. A tiny camera transmits an image of the body's interior to a video screen. This powerful imaging technology enables surgeons to reach their intended area within the body quickly and precisely.

In comparison to traditional surgery, minimally invasive surgery has the following advantages:

  • Less trauma to the body
  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Enhanced cosmetic effect (smaller scars)
  • Reduced length of stay in hospital (usually same-day surgery or one night in the hospital)
  • Reduced post-surgical recovery and quicker return to normal activities, including work.

For more information, see the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons.


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