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Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery: Small scars, big benefits

Several decades ago, having your gallbladder removed or shoulder injury repaired meant a big scar and several days in the hospital. Today, surgeons are more likely to use a minimally invasive surgical technique, one that is done through only one or a few short incisions. Minimally invasive surgery – also referred to as endoscopic, laparoscopic, arthroscopic or “keyhole” surgery – is performed using tiny instruments to operate inside the body.

A minimally invasive technique is now the preferred surgical approach for many conditions, including cancer, heart disease and orthopedic issues, with ongoing advances each year as technology evolves. Typically, a camera is inserted through a small incision so that the physician and his or her team can view the surgical site inside the body as they operate with instruments through another incision. In some cases, only one incision may be needed, such as single-port laparoscopic gallbladder removal or bariatric surgery.

Smaller incisions, faster recovery, less scarring, less blood loss, and reduced pain are the chief benefits of this kind of surgery. Often it is performed on an outpatient basis or with only an overnight hospital stay.

Surgeons at Lowell General Hospital perform many types of minimally invasive surgery. Robotic-Assisted Surgery is done with the help of robotics, microsurgical instruments and three-dimensional visualization; often for procedures like prostate removal, hysterectomy, or kidney surgery.

Dr. Estella in front of daVinci“Minimally invasive techniques have been in place for several decades now,” says Nonnie Estella, MD, one of the surgeons who uses the da Vinci® robotic surgical system at Lowell General for gynecology. “Advances in the technology have enabled us to treat more complex cases with finer precision and less impact on the body.”

Many surgeries for general and orthopedic conditions are also done with laparoscopic techniques, minimizing scarring and improving recovery times for patients. For example, virtually all knee surgery is performed using minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures today. Read more about ACL Repair.

Your surgeon will discuss the types of procedures that are best for your medical condition and sometimes an “open” procedure is more effective or better for a certain type of surgery. Allow your doctor to help you make an informed decision about which surgical approach is best for you.

Find out more about the Surgical Specialties at Lowell General.

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