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Minimally invasive surgery is a gold standard approach to surgery for colorectal cancer, says Luke Martin, MD. Dr. Martin is a colon and rectal surgeon at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). He explains how minimally invasive surgery works and what benefits it offers to patients.
How is minimally invasive surgery different from traditional open surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery uses several small incisions (cuts made through the skin). Traditional open surgery uses one large incision. Because of the smaller incisions, minimally invasive surgery often causes less pain and allows for faster recovery.
What are the benefits of minimally invasive surgery?
- Less blood loss during surgery
- Less pain after surgery and less pain medication needed
- Less time in the hospital
- Faster recovery
- Lower risk of infection, hernias, and other surgery complications
- Less scarring
What happens during minimally invasive colorectal cancer surgery?
- The patient goes under general anesthesia.
- The surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen and places tubes through the incisions.
- Carbon dioxide is pumped into the abdominal cavity to expand it. This gives the surgeon more room to work.
- The surgeon places a small video camera into the abdomen. The video camera sends images to a high-definition television screen so the surgeon can see inside the abdominal cavity.
- The surgeon places surgery tools through the tubes and performs the procedure.
- When the surgeon is done with the procedure, the tools, camera, and tubes are removed. The carbon dioxide escapes the abdominal cavity.
- The surgeon sews up the incisions.
How long does it take to recover from minimally invasive surgery?
Recovery time depends on the specific procedure. People usually recover several weeks faster than with traditional open surgery. Your doctor will go over what to expect and if there are any limitations during this time period.
Is minimally invasive surgery safe?
Minimally invasive surgery usually has fewer risks than traditional surgery. Any type of surgery carries some risk. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about this surgery or other cancer treatments.
For more information about minimally invasive surgery, talk to your care team or contact the Cancer Learning Center at 1-888-424-2100.