In minimally invasive surgery, doctors use a variety of techniques to operate with less damage to the body than with open surgery. In general, minimally invasive surgery is associated with less pain, a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications.
Laparoscopy — surgery done through one or more small incisions, using small tubes and tiny cameras and surgical instruments — was one of the first types of minimally invasive surgery. Another type of minimally invasive surgery is robotic surgery. It provides a magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site and helps the surgeon operate with precision, flexibility and control.
Continual innovations in minimally invasive surgery make it beneficial for people with a wide range of conditions. If you need surgery and think you may be a candidate for this approach, talk with your doctor.
Types of minimally invasive surgery
Surgeons perform many minimally invasive surgeries, including:
Robotic heart surgery – What you should know and what you should ask
Products & Services
Why it's done
Minimally invasive surgery emerged in the 1980s as a safe and effective technique to meet the surgical needs of many patients. In the last 20 years, many surgeons have come to prefer it to traditional (open) surgery, which requires larger incisions and, usually, a longer hospital stay.
Since then the use of minimally invasive surgery has expanded widely in many surgical specialties, including colon and lung surgery. Talk with your doctor about whether you would be a good candidate for this surgical approach.
Minimally invasive surgery uses smaller surgical incisions, and it's generally less risky than traditional surgery. But even with minimally invasive surgery, there are risks of complications with anesthesia, bleeding and infection.
Explore Mayo Clinic studies of tests and procedures to help prevent, detect, treat or manage conditions.
Minimally invasive surgery care at Mayo Clinic
Aug. 24, 2019
- Duffy JMN, et al. Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011031.pub2/abstract. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Endometrial cancer. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Guidelines for the minimally invasive treatment of adrenal pathology. Rockville, Md.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=43951. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- The role of endoscopy in the evaluation and management of dysphagia. Rockville, Md.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=47786. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Biliary stone disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Acromegaly and gigantism (adult and pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Guidelines on the management of hiatal hernia. Rockville, Md.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=47101. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Schrier SL. Approach to the adult patient with splenomegaly and other splenic disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Pryor AP, et al. Complications of laparoscopic surgery. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Mathis KL, et al. New developments in colorectal surgery. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. 2013;29:72.
- Xu T, et al. Hospital cost implications of increased use of minimally invasive surgery. JAMA. 2015;150:489.
- Nickerson TP, et al. Single-incision laparoscopic resection of small bowel tumours: Making it easier for patient and surgeon. Journal of Minimal Access Surgery. 2016;12:235.
- de Rooij T, et al. Laparoscopic pancreatic surgery for benign and malignant disease. National Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2016;13;227.
- Mack MJ. Minimally invasive and robotic surgery. JAMA. 2001;285:568.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 10, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Robot-assisted kidney surgery. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. VATS lobectomy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Georgiadou D, et al. Efficacy and safety of laparoscopic mini gastric bypass. A systematic review. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 2014;10:984.
- AskMayoExpert. Knee replacement. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Vernick W, et al. Robotic and minimally invasive cardiac surgery. Anesthesiology Clinics. 2013;31:299.
- Promising results in minimally invasive brain surgery for epilepsy (news release). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Rochester, Minn. http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/promisingresultsinminimallyinvasivebrainsurgeryforepilepsy/. Accessed July 26, 2016.
Products & Services
Minimally invasive surgery