• Printer Friendly Version

What You Should Know About Minimally Invasive Surgery

Latest technological advances offer significant benefits to patients.

For the convenience and comfort of patients in Southern Maryland, CalvertHealth Medical Center offers a broad range of minimally invasive procedures close to home. As these advanced surgical approaches have evolved, so has CHMC – while continually investing in the latest tools, technology and training.

For more than three decades, CalvertHealth Medical Center has been performing minimally invasive surgery starting with knee and shoulder arthroscopies in the 1980s. Today, about 40 percent of surgeries at CHMC are done minimally invasively from many urology and GYN procedures to more complex neurospine and vascular surgeries.

According to CalvertHealth Chief Nursing Officer Diane Couchman, MBA, BSN, RN, many general surgeries at Calvert such as appendectomies, gall bladder removals, hernia repairs and bowel resections are also done laparoscopically, when appropriate. “Our focus is on providing our patients with the safest and most effective treatment possible while improving quality outcomes.”

She went on to add, “The addition of high-resolution video camera systems and microscopes in our operating suites has positively impacted the growth of minimally invasive techniques here.”

At the same time, Couchman advises not all procedures can (or should) be done through minimally invasive methods. She stresses the importance of asking questions.

“Patients who are more informed help improve their quality of care because they have a better understanding of what to expect before and after surgery.”

Recently, we sat down with boardcertified general surgeons Dr. Ervind Bhogte and Dr. Razmi Alami to answer frequently asked questions about minimally invasive surgery.

Q. Is minimally invasive surgery safe?

Absolutely. In fact, most surgeries can now be performed in a minimally invasive manner and in many cases, it has become the standard of care to offer minimally invasive options.

Q. How does minimally invasive surgery work?

Small incisions, sometimes called keyhole incisions (about the width of a finger), are made in the skin and devices are placed into the abdominal cavity of allow the surgeon to pass instruments safely. The abdominal cavity is inflated with gas to make room for us to see and perform surgery. A camera and instruments are used to perform the necessary surgery. Once surgery is complete, all of the gas is evacuated, the devices are removed and the incisions are closed with sutures or glue. The key thing to remember is that we are doing the same operation as we would be doing open.

Q. How would the minimally invasive surgical procedure differ?

In addition to the small incision, there is usually less manipulation of the surrounding organs and tissue which makes it less traumatic. Sometimes, but not in all cases, the minimally invasive procedure also takes less time than the open procedure.

Q. What types of surgery are minimally invasive?

Most surgeries can be performed in a minimally invasive manner; however, there are advantages and disadvantages that must be considered in each individual case. Liver biopsy/partial removal, gallbladder removal, appendix removal, small bowel and colon surgery, removal of adhesions/scar tissue, stomach surgery, tissue biopsies and spleen removal, just to name a few, can all be performed laparoscopically.

Q. What are the advantages of minimally invasive surgery?

The minimally invasive surgical technique translates to faster recovery, much better pain control and in most cases, a better cosmetic outcome with scarring. Due to the small incision size, there are also typically fewer excisional or wound complications.

Q. When is minimally invasive surgery not an option?

When the patient has had multiple open abdominal surgeries, a specific pathology or if there is an emergency situation, minimally invasive surgery may not be an option. Each case is considered individually, and each patient is counseled about their individual options. There are situations in which you just have to say, “This is not our safest option.” Alternatively, if you are performing a minimally invasive surgery, it is very easy to switch gears and convert to a traditional open technique should you need to.
back to top button