Minimally Invasive Surgery at Penn Presbyterian
About Minimally Invasive Surgery at Penn Presbyterian
What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?
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Types of Minimally Invasive Surgeries

Cardiovascular Surgery

Colorectal Surgery

Gastrointestinal Surgery

Gynecologic Surgery

Thoracic Surgery

Urologic Surgery

Vascular Surgery
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Talking with the Doctor

Howard Ross, MD, specializes in colon and rectal surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Question: What is diverticulitis and how is it treated?

Answer: Diverticulitis is a common disease of the colon. As we age, soft outpouchings called diverticuli can develop in the wall of the large intestine. The formation of diverticuli is associated with diets that are low in fiber. By the time people living in the United States reach 70 years of age, two thirds develop diverticuli. These outpouchings usually do not cause any problems; occasionally, however, they can become infected. This infection is called diverticulitis. No one knows why infection develops. Unproven, but popular, traditional beliefs have incriminated popcorn, seeds, and nuts.

When someone has diverticulitis they usually experience pain in the left side of their abdomen. The pain can be mild or severe. If a person were to experience pain in their abdomen they should visit a physician. The treatment of mild diverticulitis can be only a short course of antibiotics. More intense or repeat attacks can require surgery. Traditionally, the type of surgery required to remove the diseased portion of colon required a large incision, a hospital stay of more than a week, and a recovery at home which did not permit full activity for six weeks.

Advances in laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery, now enable specially trained surgeons to remove the affected portion of colon without a large incision in the center of the abdomen. In the newer laparoscopic approach, the surgeon uses a very small telescope called a laparoscope, to see inside the patient's abdomen. The surgeon makes several small incisions and inserts both the laparoscope and miniaturized surgical instruments.

All the necessary operative steps are made through these small holes, using the image on the video monitor as a guide. When a colon operation is performed laparoscopically, the patient has less pain, a shorter hospital stay, a better cosmetic result, and a more rapid return to the activities they enjoy. Patients have left the hospital in as short a time as two days and have played golf within a month after surgery. After hospital discharge, the patients are encouraged to return to an active


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