Scarless and Minimal Access Surgery

The Department of Surgery employs minimally invasive (or minimal access) surgery techniques throughout its clinical areas. These techniques offer patients faster recovery, less post-surgical pain, and smaller incisions.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is performed through small incisions (between ¼ to 1 inches long). A telescope with a video camera inserted through one incision provides visualization of the operation on a TV monitor. Surgical instruments are then passed through additional small incisions, and the entire operation takes place completely within the patient's body. When the telescope is used to operate on the abdomen, the procedure is called laparoscopy. When used in the chest, the procedure is called thoracoscopy.

Endoscopy and Scarless Surgery

Many minimally invasive operations may be performed from within organs and body cavities (also called endolumenal, natural orifice procedures or Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery/ NOTES). In these procedures, the surgeon may approach the surgical area through an endoscope introduced through the mouth or the anus. An internal incision is then made behind the uterus or in the stomach wall to access the abdominal cavity. Special instruments are deployed through an endoscope or similar long flexible instrument to perform the surgery. These internal incisions are typically much less painful than traditional abdominal incisions through skin and muscle. Patients benefit from reduced post-operative pain, faster recovery time, and little or no abdominal scarring.

By accessing the organs from within, many endoscopic operations leave no external scars. Our program now offers endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty for select patients who need to lose weight but do not qualify for or want weight loss surgery. During this outpatient procedure, a flexible endoscope is placed through the mouth and into the stomach. Instruments on the tip of the endoscope are used to suture the walls of the stomach together from the inside, with no incisions, to decrease the size of the stomach. Patients experience minimal pain and return home the same day. Read more about this approach here.

Read more about scarless surgery.