Minimally Invasive Treatments

When you hear the term “minimally invasive treatment or surgery," you may wonder how that differs from traditional or conventional methods.

Minimally invasive surgical procedures use special techniques and tools that place smaller incisions on the body with the intent of decreasing how much of the body’s tissue is damaged. This usually means a shorter recovery time with less pain when compared to traditional surgery. 

The most common types of minimally invasive treatment or surgery include: 

  • Robotic: A robotic system is controlled by a surgeon who is trained in this specialized technique. The surgeon is often near the patient and performing the surgery through a video monitor setup that controls the robot. 

  • Endoscopic: These procedures use a small scope, which is a long, thin tube with a camera on the end. The camera sends real time pictures to a video monitor allowing the surgeon to perform the procedure. Typically, there are three very small incisions with this type of procedure compared with one large incision with traditional surgery. Some common types of endoscopic procedures include: 

    • Bronchoscopy, which views the trachea and lungs

    • Colonoscopy, which views the colon and intestines 

    • Cystoscopy, which views the bladder 

    • Laparoscopy, surgical procedures that occur in the abdomen/pelvis through small “keyhole” like incision 

    • Hysteroscopy, which is used to remove abnormal growths in the pelvic area including the uterus and vagina 

How are minimally invasive treatments used? 

As technology progresses, minimally invasive surgical techniques have become more available to patients. These types of surgical treatments can be used to diagnose a cancer, to remove the cancer, and/or to help with symptom management. 

Am I a candidate for this type of procedure? 

It’s important to talk to your provider about whether you are a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure. In certain cases, traditional surgery may still be necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Larger tumors are usually better treated with traditional surgery. 

The technology used for many of these minimally invasive procedures may or may not be available at your local hospital. Additional training is also often needed to use robotics in surgery, so you may need to confirm whether there is a provider available in your area. 

For information regarding some of the more common minimally invasive treatments, visit these resources: