Even if you’ve never had surgery, you probably know someone who has. If the surgery was more than five or 10 years ago, it might be remembered like this: a long operation with a large incision followed by a weeks-long recovery. Or, everything that modern surgery is not.
Some patients now have major surgery without even spending the night in the hospital!
In operating rooms across the U.S., large surgical instruments have given way to miniature cameras, robotic precision, flexible instruments and video monitors that make surgery shorter and more precise than ever before. Endoscopic, laparoscopic and other “keyhole” surgeries are performed through existing body openings or tiny hidden incisions.
|Physicians Stephen Sisco MD, and Deanna Mansker, MD, were among the first surgeons in the region to perform single site gall bladder surgery using the daVinci robot.|
For example, thanks to advanced surgical tools the chest or abdomen--which once needed to be opened to navigate around tissues and organs--can now be visualized and accessed using fiber optics and flexible scopes.
Dr. Deanna Mansker, who regularly performs gallbladder removal using the da Vinci robotic system, says minimally invasive techniques have completely changed the surgery experience for patients. “Gallbladder removal used to be a very major surgery that meant at least a week in the hospital and a very large, painful cut,” she says. “Today the standard of care is laparoscopic surgery, and a lot of times people can go home the same day. There are no major cuts to heal, so people can return to work within two weeks.”
Today nearly all surgeries utilize either minimally invasive techniques or technology. And, as surgical technology continues to evolve, incisions will continue to shrink and may even disappear thanks to natural-orifice endoscopic surgery, which uses a body opening such as the mouth or vagina as the surgical entry point.
Having surgery has changed for the better in many ways. What’s also clear? With the revolution still underway, it’s only going to get better for patients and physicians in the years ahead.