OSF Saint Clare Medical Center

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery Offers Many Benefits

The highly skilled surgeons who perform surgery at OSF Saint Clare Medical Center use the latest in technology and techniques. In many cases, the best and safest form of surgery is minimally invasive surgery.

What Are the Advantages of Minimally Invasive Surgery?

With minimally invasive surgery, some procedures can be done without large open incisions. Instead, surgeons use one or more very small incisions or none at all. It is generally less painful, reduces risks and makes recovery easier. Scarring is reduced, bleeding is minimal and recovery time is shorter. Because the wounds are smaller, they heal more quickly and are less likely to become infected.

How Is Minimally Invasive Surgery Done?

Minimally invasive surgery is usually done using tubes called endoscopes that allow surgeons to see and operate inside the body. Some endoscopes have built-in miniature cameras, and some include channels for other instruments. The surgeon views the area either directly through the endoscope or on a video screen.

In some surgery's endoscopes can be inserted through natural body openings, such as the mouth. In these cases, the patient may need only a local anesthetic or sedation. In other cases, a general anesthetic is used.

When necessary during surgery, the doctor makes an incision about half an inch long for the endoscope. Additional small incisions may be made for other instruments, such as lasers and scissors. The surgeon manipulates the instruments to perform the surgery, and then removes the instruments and endoscope. It often takes only one stitch to close an incision.

What Kind of Procedures Can Be Done With Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery can be done in areas of the body that are large enough to allow movement of the instruments, such as the chest, abdomen and large joints such as the knee and hip.

Common minimally invasive surgeries include:

  • Gallbladder removal
  • Appendectomy
  • Repair of damaged cartilage in joints
  • Lung biopsy
  • Hernia repair
  • Varicose veins

Surgeons can even use endoscopes to operate on the spine, approaching through the abdomen. This often yields a better result than operating from the back because of the anatomy of the vertebrae.

What Are the Risks of Minimally Invasive Surgery?

The small work area means slightly greater risk of damage to an organ or vessel. And it’s important to know that during any procedure, the need for open surgery could arise. As with any surgery, there is a risk of an adverse reaction to a general anesthetic.

Is Minimally Invasive Surgery Right for Me?

If you have an upcoming surgical procedure, ask your doctor if there is a minimally invasive procedure that would be appropriate for you.