Minimally invasive surgery encompasses a number of techniques designed to reduce the physical trauma associated with traditional surgical procedures. Instead of making a single large incision, the surgeon creates several small incisions and places a laparoscope – a scope with a light and camera – through one of the incisions. This allows the surgeon to view the anatomy. The surgeon performs the operation working with long instruments placed through small tubes in the other incisions.
Because the smaller incisions heal faster, patients who are treated with this surgical technique usually have fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and a much faster recovery than with traditional open surgery.
Washington University colorectal surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures ranging from simple segmental colon resection and ostomy construction to complicated procedures such as total colectomy ileal pouch construction with ileal-anal anastomosis (the most complicated procedure in colorectal surgery). Laparoscopic techniques are being used to treat cancer and benign disease (diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis).
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