Minimally Invasive Surgery
Long recovery times from certain kinds of surgery are becoming a thing of the past as techniques become much less invasive, letting patients get back to normal more quickly and with less pain.
State-of-the-art technology and techniques, using things like tiny fiber optic flashlights, miniature cameras and high-definition monitors, are being used to treat a variety of ailments, including problems with the gall bladder, colon, hernias and gastroesophageal reflux disease. This equipment is also being used with knee, hip and spinal surgeries.
These types of surgeries are characterized by smaller incisions and muscles that have been separated rather than cut through. This means less blood loss during the surgery as well as a shorter rehabilitation time afterward. Many are performed as outpatient surgery, eliminating the need for hospitalization.
The right surgeon makes the difference
Orthopedic surgeons also are able to use minimally invasive surgery to perform total knee replacement without cutting through tendons or muscles. The incision has been reduced from 12 inches in length to as small as three to five inches.
Dr. Tuvi Mendel of Orthopaedic Specialists, P.C. in Davenport uses minimally invasive techniques and knows firsthand how patients respond. “A surgery that comes with fewer complications, less pain, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery means a happier patient,” Dr. Mendel said.
Dr. Michael Dolphin, also of Orthopaedic Specialists P.C., can use minimally invasive techniques to repair ruptured discs that are pinching nerves in the spine. “Most people have a stereotypical view that back surgery means being down and out for a long time,” Dr. Dolphin said. “That is no longer the case. With the right surgery and right surgeon, people can now return to their normal life activities much sooner and with less discomfort. Patients are extremely happy with the results.”
Back to activity
Dr. Pamela Davis, an orthopedic surgeon with Foot & Ankle Specialists in Davenport, agrees that a speedy recovery is one of the biggest advantages of minimally invasive techniques. “We are a society that doesn’t like to be inconvenienced,” said Dr. Davis. “Patients want to get back to work and their activities quickly. That’s very possible with these techniques.”
Because the techniques use special equipment, the surgeon’s technical skills must be continually updated. “With the new technology, we no longer look inside the body with the naked eye. We look through video technology,” Dr. Davis said. “The surgical knife resembles a chopstick with hand controls on one side.”
“We try to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and techniques,” Dr. Mendel said. “Even though they’re harder to do, patients benefit more from increased function.”
The more experience, the better
While Quad-City surgeons agree that minimally invasive surgery offers significant advantages, it is not always an option.
“Ask your doctor if he offers the less invasive technique and, if so, ask how many he has done,” Dr. Bohn said. “Obviously, the more experienced he is, the better.”
“Patient selection is also very important,” added Dr. Scott Collins, an orthopedic surgeon with ORA. “A younger, more active patient who is in relatively good health prior to the injury is ideal for these procedures.”
Dr. Edward Connolly of Orthopedic and Rheumatology Associates agrees and says that ancillary care is also a big factor in making minimally invasive procedures a success. “Improved physical therapy and anesthesia techniques also contribute to getting the patient up and moving more quickly,” he said.
“We are always looking for new and better ways to care for our patients,” Dr. Dolphin said. “For them, being able to receive this kind of care locally instead of having to leave the community means a lot.”
For more information on minimally invasive procedures at Trinity, please contact Betsy Demarest, director of surgical services, at email@example.com
or at (309) 779-2194.
To find a surgeon at Trinity visit our Physician Finder