Your Mayo Clinic doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery — also called laparoscopic surgery — for several conditions. In minimally invasive procedures, your doctor makes one or more incisions, each about a half-inch long, to insert a tube. The number of incisions depends on the type of surgery. The tube or tubes let the doctor slip in tiny video cameras and specially designed surgical instruments to perform the procedure.

When you have minimally invasive surgery, you're likely to lose less blood and have less postoperative pain, fewer and smaller scars, and a faster recovery than you would after open surgery. Depending on your condition, you may need only a short hospital stay.

For some conditions, your doctor may recommend robotic surgery. That technology gives your doctor great precision, flexibility and control by providing a magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site.

Types

Mayo Clinic doctors perform many kinds of minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor can tell you about procedures that are appropriate for your condition.

  • Adrenalectomy to remove one or both adrenal glands
  • Anti-reflux surgery, sometimes called hiatal hernia repair, to relieve gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Chest (thoracic) surgery
  • Colectomy to remove parts of a diseased colon
  • Colon and rectal surgery
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery
  • Endovascular surgery to perform vascular procedures, such as repairing an aneurysm
  • Gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) to remove gallstones that cause pain
  • Gastroenterologic and general surgery
  • Gynecologic surgery
  • Heart surgery
  • Nephrectomy to remove a kidney as treatment or for donation
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Splenectomy to remove the spleen
  • Urologic surgery

Read more about cholecystectomy, colectomy, nephrectomy and splenectomy.

Jan. 10, 2010