Spotlight on minimally invasive surgery
With potential benefits such as quicker recovery and less pain, minimally invasive surgery has become popular for a variety of surgical procedures. For some operations, such as gallbladder removal, it is more widely used than conventional open surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery, also called laparoscopic or endoscopic surgery, may require a few incisions of less than a half-inch each, compared with an incision of 5 to 8 inches or longer with open surgery. The surgeon inserts a rigid scope consisting of a camera and light into a port through one of the incisions. Images are sent to a screen, which the surgeon watches while performing the surgery using instruments inserted through one or more of the other incisions.
“Not all surgeries can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, but the list is growing,” says Timothy Oppermann, M.D., board-certified general surgeon and on staff at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “Major cancer, heart or other surgeries may require a more open surgical field. In some instances — even if a laparoscopic procedure is performed routinely — a physician may determine that a particular patient is not a good candidate based on his or her overall health or surgical history.”
However, when laparoscopic surgery is determined to be a good option, it may offer the following benefits:
• Shorter recovery time. Since small incisions usually heal faster than large ones, some surgeries can be done on an outpatient basis. Surgical patients who are admitted to the hospital may be released sooner and return to their regular activities faster.
• Less pain. Smaller incisions generally mean less post-operative pain.
• Lower risk of infection. Smaller wounds are generally at less risk of infection.
• Less blood loss. The tiny incisions involved in minimally invasive surgery can usually result in less blood loss than would be experienced with open surgery.
• Less scarring. This can be a significant consideration for some patients.
“Gallbladder removals, hernia surgeries and appendectomies are among the most commonly performed minimally invasive procedures,” Dr. Oppermann says. “Minimally invasive techniques are now used in most fields of surgery.” Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has been in the forefront offering minimally invasive surgical options in the following specialties:
Bariatric; Cardiovascular; Colorectal; Gastroenterology; General Surgery; Gynecology; Neurosurgery; Otorhinolaryngology; Orthopedics; and Urology.
If you are anticipating surgery or want a second opinion, Dr. Oppermann will discuss your options with you and determine whether minimally invasive surgery is appropriate for you.
For an appointment with Dr. Oppermann, call 281-275-0860.
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