Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) also known as “keyhole surgery” or laparoscopic surgery refers to the use of state-of-the-art technology to reduce damage to human tissue when performing surgery.
Unlike traditional surgery, during MIS the surgeon makes several small 3–4 inch incisions and inserts miniscule cameras equipped with microscopes and tiny fiber-optic flashlights. The surgical team can view the procedure as a magnified image on video monitors in the operation room. Surgeons use the micro-technology to view the inside of the body on a high definition monitor.
This advanced technique enables patients to recover faster and with less scarring and is becoming a treatment of choice for many surgeons. Unlike the conventional “open” surgery, minimally invasive surgery has many exceptional benefits including:
- Increased safety – Since only small incisions are made, there is minimal body trauma and blood loss.
- Reduced scarring – Incisions made will often only require a stitch or two to close.
- Recovery period is shorter – Traditional open surgery will often require at least six to eight weeks of recovery period. A minimally invasive surgery on the other hand will often only need two weeks of recovery time.
- Lower infection risk – Since the procedure is less invasive, the risk of infection is substantially reduced. There is also less scarring and pain.
- Shorter hospital stay – most patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery will not be required to stay in the hospital and will be discharged a few hours after the operation.
What to Expect Before and After Surgery
- Stop smoking, taking vitamins, aspirin and blood-thinning medications, and hormone replacements.
- Abstain from alcohol the day prior.
- Do not take any food and drink from midnight for morning surgery.
- Do not take any food or drink after 7 a.m. for afternoon surgery.
- Remove any nail polish and makeup.
- When applicable, directions for bowel preparation will be given.
- Using creams, lotions, and moisturizers on the day of the procedure is also discouraged.
- Pain medication and antibiotics will be given.
- Urinary catheter will be removed once patient is able to urinate comfortably.
- The patient can take a shower once the dressing incisions are removed.
Length of stay (for cases that will require confinement) will vary. Oftentimes, it will depend on the procedure done. Upon discharge, pain medications and other prescriptions might be given. The doctor will also likely give instructions as to when the patient can commence doing day-to-day activities sans restrictions.
Common Minimally Invasive Procedures
Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure done to view the joint using a small camera. This gives the surgeon a clear view of the knee which helps them diagnose and treat knee problems. Small incisions are made so that a small camera can be inserted into the joint. The arthroscope sends the image to a monitor where the surgeon views knee structures in great details. The arthroscope can also be used to repair and remove damaged tissues.
Spine MIS Procedures
Spine MIS procedures are usually done to stabilize vertebral bones and spinal joints or to relieve pressures that is applied to the spinal nerves—often due to conditions such as spinal instability, herniated discs, scoliosis, spinal tumors or bone spurs.
MIS Knee Replacement
MIS knee replacements are performed by making 2-to-3 inch incisions. The procedure involves less cutting of skin compared to traditional surgery, and less or no cutting of muscles and tissues. This help alleviate pain and restores mobility. Patients are able to return to their everyday activities sooner. Typically, the estimated recovery time for a MIS partial knee replacement is approximately five weeks, although it varies with individual.