Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery is surgery performed through small incisions instead of a larger cut that is required for the traditional open approach. It is used for minimizing tissue damage, speeding up recovery and enhancing surgical outcomes. The other benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:
- Less blood loss
- Less post-operative pain
- Less scarring
- Shorter hospital stay
Most minimally invasive procedures are performed under local anesthesia or regional block with sedation. This has the additional advantage of preventing complications associated with general anesthesia. The surgery is performed through two or more small incisions, about 1 cm long. A thin, pencil-thick instrument with a tiny camera and light source is inserted through one of the incisions to transmit the images of the surgical area onto a monitor for the surgeon to view. Special surgical instruments used to cut, shave or remove tissue are inserted through the other incisions.
Minimally invasive surgery can be used for various orthopaedic procedures that include:
- Removal of scar tissue, loose bodies, bone spurs, inflamed synovial membrane and cartilage
- Treatment of cartilage damage, ligament tears, fractures, dislocations and joint instability
- Joint reconstruction
Computer-assisted surgery and robotic surgeries have further revolutionized the field of minimally invasive surgery and are also being used for joint reconstruction. In computer assisted surgery, computer aided navigation is used to provide the surgeon with real-time 3D images of the surgical area and the surgical instruments on a monitor, during the surgery. These images guide the surgeon and allow them to proceed based on the pre-operative surgical plan.
Robotic surgery enhances the precision of a procedure by providing better control using state of the art technology. It allows your surgeon to perform a surgery with improved accuracy as the arthroscope and surgical instruments are held by a robotic arm. The robotic arm cannot be programmed to perform the surgery on its own. Instead, it translates the surgeon’s hand movements, at the control unit, into precise movements of the micro-instruments in the operation site, minimizing tremors that may occur from unintended shaking of the surgeon’s hands. The enhanced vision and superior control of the micro-instruments improves the precision of the surgery with less blood loss, less post-operative pain, fewer complications, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stay, faster return to normal routine activities and a lower incidence of complications.
Computer navigation and robotic surgery are tools to guide and assist the surgeon to improve the outcome of a minimally invasive surgery. These cannot however replace the skills of an experienced surgeon.