Over the past several decades, there have been great advancements in the techniques doctors use during surgery. One huge medical advancement that has benefited patients the most is minimally invasive surgery. There are several types of minimally invasive surgery that can be used to perform a wide range of procedures.
Minimally invasive surgery is often preferable to traditional “open” surgery for many reasons. Open surgery requires a large incision made with a scalpel so that the surgeon has a full view of the organs or structures they are operating on. Minimally invasive procedures do not require a large incision, which is why it is preferable in some cases. The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:
- Smaller incisions, fewer incisions, or no incision
- Less pain
- Lower risk of infection
- Reduced blood loss
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less scarring
- Quicker recovery
Types of Minimally Invasive Surgery
1. Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery
In a laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions in the abdomen. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), laparoscopic procedures only require incisions that are ¼ to ½ inch long. The surgeon inserts an instrument called a laparoscope as well as other small, thin surgical instruments through the incisions. The laparoscope has a camera on it that sends images to a monitor so the doctor can visualize the surgical site. A long list of surgeries can be performed laparoscopically, including (but not limited to):
- Bladder support surgery
- Myomectomy (fibroid removal)
- Gallbladder removal
- Gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery
- Hernia repair
2. Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
VATS is a type of minimally invasive surgery that is used to diagnose and treat conditions in the chest. During the procedure, an instrument called a thoracoscope that has a tiny camera on it is inserted into the chest through one or more small incisions in the chest wall. Other special surgical instruments are inserted as well. The scope transmits images of the inside of the chest to guide the surgeon.
VATS may be used for:
- Biopsies to diagnose lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other chest cancers
- Lung surgery
- Procedures to remove fluid or air from around the lungs
- Surgery to treat esophageal disorders
- Hiatal hernia repair
- Surgery to relieve excess sweating
- Surgery to remove part or all of the esophagus
- Thymus gland removal
- Other procedures to treat conditions of the heart, ribs, diaphragm, or spine
3. Hysteroscopic Surgery
Hysteroscopic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery in which an instrument called a hysteroscope is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The camera on the scope allows the surgeon to see the inside of the uterine cavity. During a hysteroscopic procedure, the doctor can inspect the uterine cavity for abnormalities such as fibroids or polyps. They can also check the openings of the fallopian tubes.
A hysteroscopic procedure is often done for diagnostic purposes so a gynecologist can inspect the lining of the uterus. The procedure can also be performed to:
- Biopsy the endometrial lining
- Remove endometrial or cervical polyps
- Remove fibroids
- Open the fallopian tubes
- Endometrial ablation
- Remove intrauterine scarring
4. Vaginal Surgery
Vaginal access minimally invasive surgery (VAMIS) is a type of minimally invasive surgery that can be used for major gynecologic surgery such as a hysterectomy. This surgery requires no abdominal incisions and has a lower risk of complications than abdominal procedures. VAMIS uses the vaginal opening to access organs in the pelvic cavity. It is used to perform:
- Uterine fibroid debulking
- Pelvic mass removal
- Procedures to treat endometriosis.
5. Robotic Surgery
Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery and other types of minimally invasive surgery because it uses small incisions, a camera, and small surgical instruments. However, robotic surgery is more advanced and uses cameras that can create a 3D color picture with 10x magnification. Robotic surgery allows doctors to perform many types of complex surgery with more precision, control, and flexibility than other methods.
Gynecologic Conditions Treated With Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery can be used to treat a number of gynecologic conditions, including:
- Ovarian cysts
- Uterine fibroids
- Gynecologic cancers
- Heavy uterine bleeding
- Uterine prolapse
- Cervical disorders
At Green Valley OB/GYN, we have been providing quality obstetric and gynecological care to the women of the NC Triad for over 70 years. We offer a comprehensive list of services and procedures for women in all stages of life. If you have concerns about treating allergies during pregnancy, call us at (336) 378-1110 to schedule an appointment.
If you have an upcoming appointment, out of concern for our patients, staff, and the local community, we ask that you please call our office to reschedule your appointment if you have or if you have been in contact with someone that has had a fever, cough, shortness of breath, Cold, Flu-like symptoms or has traveled within the past 14 days. We also request only One Adult accompany the patient to their appointments, if necessary (children should not attend). We appreciate your help in our efforts to prevent the spread of illness.