Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO
Whether you need a hip replacement or carpal tunnel release surgery, you’ve likely heard about “minimally invasive surgery,” also referred to as “MIS.” MIS is nothing new; many of the tactics that make this surgical approach popular among patients and doctors alike have been commonplace for decades. However, the field of surgical technology is constantly developing, and techniques and outcomes continue to improve in many surgical procedures at a rapid rate.
What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery (in both orthopedics and other medical specialties) refers to a surgical procedure that uses small incisions, special surgical tools that can be inserted through those small incisions, and some kind of visualization technology that allows the doctor to see the operative area without having to make a large incision.
To get a view of the operative area, the surgeon may insert a laparoscope into a small incision; this tool relays images back to a video monitor in front of the surgeon. In other cases, the doctor may use fluoroscopy, a “real time x-ray” technology that involves injecting the patient with a special contrast dye that can be viewed with the help of diagnostic imaging technology.
What Procedures Can Be Done With a Minimally Invasive Approach?
These days, almost any procedure can be done with a minimally invasive approach, including:
- Hip replacement
- Knee replacement
- Rotator cuff repair
- Tendon and ligament repair
- Carpal tunnel release surgery
- …and many more
What Are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery?
Benefits of MIS vary depending on the particular procedure. However, in many cases (but not all), minimally invasive surgery offers the following potential benefits when compared to traditional “open” surgery:
- Less blood loss
- Smaller scars
- Less post-operative pain
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster recovery / return to activity
- Lower risk of infection
- Lower risk of post-operative complications
Please note, this list is general in nature. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about the potential benefits and risks associated with your particular surgery.
Is There Any Reason Not To Have Minimally Invasive Surgery?
While minimally invasive surgery is a great option for many patients, it’s not right for everybody. If you have extensive damage to a joint or muscle group, for example, your orthopedic doctor may recommend an open procedure. Additionally, patients with certain health complications may not qualify for minimally invasive surgery. It’s also important to check with your insurance company before having a planned surgery, as a minimally invasive approach may not be the most cost-effective method, depending on the procedure.
Learn More With a Houston Orthopedic Doctor
To learn more about minimally invasive surgery, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.