Scalpels, Microscopes and Robots: Understanding the Different Forms of SurgeryWhether performed to fix a broken bone or help in the treatment of a deadly cancer, surgeries can be extremely beneficial, and in fact, most surgeries are completed without any problems. Of course, any surgery has the risk for complications or errors, especially depending on the part of the body being operated on and also the type of surgery.
The three main types of surgical procedures are known as open surgery, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.
This is the oldest form of surgery and is still the most common procedure used for operations such as appendectomies and cardiac bypass surgeries. In an open surgery, an area of the body is cut open to perform an operation. This incision can be several inches in length. The recovery time for this type of procedure is typically the longest of the three types. Although this can be seen as one of the negative aspects of open surgery, there are some benefits to opting for this surgery, as well. Open surgeries usually require less operating time and are generally less expensive to have done than minimally invasive surgery or robotic surgery.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Typically, minimally invasive surgery entails the utilization of a lighted tube with a camera to explore the body through small incisions or directly within an organ.
Though first used in gynecological procedures, this type of surgery is now used in general surgery, oncology, gastroenterology, otolaryngology, orthopedics, cardiothoracic surgery, pulmonology and urology. In comparison to open surgery, recovery times for minimally invasive surgeries are usually much shorter. One of the other benefits of this type of surgery is a decrease in the likelihood of experiencing infectious complications. Despite these potential benefits, minimally invasive surgeries often are often longer in duration than open surgeries and cost more.
This type of surgery, which can be applied to either open surgery or minimally invasive surgery, is still in its infancy. Through the use of microprocessors and servo-controlled instruments, a surgeon operates cutting and coagulating instruments indirectly. Though often used in heart surgery, prostate surgery and gynecological surgery, the potential for this form of procedure is nearly limitless. Various studies have confirmed that surgical precision is enhanced through this technology. Even though the upside to robotic surgery seems so high, extreme costs - both in purchasing the equipment and in training the surgeons -have largely prohibited this from becoming a well-established method for surgery.