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HandWiki. Minimally Invasive Procedures. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 18 April 2024).
HandWiki. Minimally Invasive Procedures. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 18, 2024.
HandWiki. "Minimally Invasive Procedures" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 18, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 11). Minimally Invasive Procedures. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Minimally Invasive Procedures." Encyclopedia. Web. 11 November, 2022.
Minimally Invasive Procedures

Minimally invasive procedures (also known as minimally invasive surgeries) encompass surgical techniques that limit the size of incisions needed and so lessen wound healing time, associated pain and risk of infection. Surgery by definition is invasive and many operations requiring incisions of some size are referred to as open surgery, in which incisions made can sometimes leave large wounds that are painful and take a long time to heal. Minimally invasive procedures have been enabled by the advance of various medical technologies. An endovascular aneurysm repair as an example of minimally invasive surgery is much less invasive in that it involves much smaller incisions than the corresponding open surgery procedure of open aortic surgery. This minimally invasive surgery became the most common method of repairing abdominal aortic aneurysms in 2003 in the United States. The front-runners of minimally invasive procedures were interventional radiologists. By the use of imaging techniques, interventional instruments could be directed throughout the body by the radiologists by way of catheters instead of large incisions needed in traditional surgery, so that many conditions once requiring surgery can now be treated non-surgically. Diagnostic techniques that do not involve the puncturing of the skin or incision, or the introduction into the body of foreign objects or materials, are known as non-invasive procedures. There are also several treatment procedures that are classed as non-invasive. A major example of a non-invasive alternative treatment to surgery is radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy.

minimally invasive wound healing radiotherapy

1. Medical Uses

Arthroscopic surgery.

Minimally invasive procedures were pioneered by interventional radiologists who had first introduced angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent. Many other minimally invasive procedures have followed where images of all parts of the body can be obtained and used to direct interventional instruments by way of catheters (needles and fine tubes), so that many conditions once requiring open surgery can now be treated non-surgically.[1] A minimally invasive procedure typically involves the use of arthroscopic (for joints and the spine) or laparoscopic devices and remote-control manipulation of instruments with indirect observation of the surgical field through an endoscope or large scale display panel, and is carried out through the skin or through a body cavity or anatomical opening. Interventional radiology now offers many techniques that avoid the need for surgery.[2]

By use of a minimally invasive procedure, a patient may require only an adhesive bandage on the incision, rather than multiple stitches or staples to close a large incision. This usually results in less infection, a quicker recovery time and shorter hospital stays, or allow outpatient treatment.[3] However, the safety and effectiveness of each procedure must be demonstrated with randomized controlled trials. The term was coined by John E. A. Wickham in 1984, who wrote of it in British Medical Journal in 1987.[4]

2. Specific Procedures

Flexible endoscope.

Many medical procedures are called minimally invasive; those that involve small incisions through which an endoscope is inserted, end in the suffix -oscopy, such as endoscopy, laparoscopy, arthroscopy. Other examples of minimally invasive procedures include the use of hypodermic injection, and air-pressure injection, subdermal implants, refractive surgery, percutaneous surgery, cryosurgery, microsurgery, keyhole surgery, endovascular surgery using interventional radiology (such as angioplasty), coronary catheterization, permanent placement of spinal and brain electrodes, stereotactic surgery, the Nuss procedure, radioactivity-based medical imaging methods, such as gamma camera, positron emission tomography and SPECT (single photon emission tomography). Related procedures are image-guided surgery, and robot-assisted surgery.[5]

3. Benefits

Minimally invasive surgery should have less operative trauma, other complications and adverse effects than an equivalent open surgery. It may be more or less expensive (for dental implants, a minimally invasive method reduces the cost of installed implants and shortens the implant-prosthetic rehabilitation time with 4–6 months[6]). Operative time is longer, but hospitalization time is shorter. It causes less pain and scarring, speeds recovery, and reduces the incidence of post-surgical complications, such as adhesions and wound rupture. Some studies have compared heart surgery.[7]

4. Risks

Risks and complications of minimally invasive procedures are the same as for any other surgical operation, among the risks are: death, bleeding, infection, organ injury, and thromboembolic disease[8]

There may be an increased risk of hypothermia and peritoneal trauma due to increased exposure to cold, dry gases during insufflation. The use of surgical humidification therapy, which is the use of heated and humidified CO2 for insufflation, may reduce this risk.[9]

4.1. Equipment

Special medical equipment may be used, such as fiber optic cables, miniature video cameras and special surgical instruments handled via tubes inserted into the body through small openings in its surface. The images of the interior of the body are transmitted to an external video monitor and the surgeon has the possibility of making a diagnosis, visually identifying internal features and acting surgically on them.

5. Invasive Procedures


Sometimes the use of non-invasive methods is not an option, so that the next level of minimally invasive techniques are looked to. These include the use of hypodermic injection (using the syringe), an endoscope, percutaneous surgery which involves needle puncture of the skin, laparoscopic surgery commonly called keyhole surgery, a coronary catheter, angioplasty and stereotactic surgery.

5.1. Open Surgery

"Open surgery" is any surgical procedure, where the incision made is enough to allow the surgery to take place. With tissues and structures exposed to the air, the procedure can be performed either with the unaided vision of the surgeon or with the use of loupes or microscopes. Some examples of open surgery used, are for herniated disc commonly called a "slipped disc", and most types of cardiac surgery and neurosurgery.


  1. Society of Interventional Radiology -- Global Statement Defining Interventional radiology. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  2. Society of Interventional Radiology -- Global Statement Defining Interventional radiology. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  3. NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI, MeSH, Medical SubHeadings, NLM, National Library of Medicine
  4. Wickham JE' (1987-12-19). "The new surgery". Br Med J 295: 1581–1582. doi:10.1136/bmj.295.6613.1581. 
  5. "Current status of robotic assisted pelvic surgery and future developments". International Journal of Surgery 7 (5): 431–40. October 2009. doi:10.1016/j.ijsu.2009.08.008. PMID 19735746.
  6. Topalo V, Chele N (March 2012). "Minimally invasive method of early dental implant placement in two surgical steps" (in ro). Revista de chirurgie oro-maxilo-facială și implantologie 3 (1): 16–23. 60. ISSN 2069-3850. Retrieved 2012-08-19. (webpage has a translation button)
  7. "Intensive care after minimally invasive and conventional coronary surgery: a prospective comparison". Intensive Care Medicine 27 (3): 534–9. March 2001. doi:10.1007/s001340000788. PMID 11355122.
  8. "Minimally Invasive Surgery. Keyhole Surgery information." (in en-GB). 
  9. "Heated and humidified CO2 prevents hypothermia, peritoneal injury, and intra-abdominal adhesions during prolonged laparoscopic insufflations". The Journal of Surgical Research 151 (1): 40–7. January 2009. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2008.03.039. PMID 18639246.
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