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What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery has become the preferred approach for treating a growing number of conditions that require surgery. We asked surgeons about the growing use of minimally invasive techniques for general surgery procedures and the positive outcomes their patients are experiencing.

Why is minimally invasive surgery used for general surgery procedures?

Several decades ago, having your gallbladder removed meant a big scar and several days in the hospital. Today, we use a minimally invasive surgical technique, one that is done through only one or a few short incisions. Minimally invasive surgery — often called laparoscopic surgery  is performed using tiny instruments to operate inside the body. The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include smaller incisions, less scarring, faster recovery, reduced blood loss, decreased pain levels and a shorter hospital stay.

What type of general surgery procedures can be done using minimally invasive techniques?

General surgery refers to procedures involving abdominal organs and tissues, such as the intestines, stomach, colon, liver, and gallbladder. Appendectomy (removal of the appendix), cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder), colon resection and colorectal procedures, hernia repair, and bariatric procedures (weight loss surgery for morbid obesity) are some of the common general surgery procedures now conducted using minimally invasive techniques.

Lowell General is one of the few multi-specialty robotic programs to offer robotic treatment options in urologic, gynecologic and general surgery. How is the da Vinci® Si being used for general surgery procedures?

In 2012, Lowell General was the first hospital in Massachusetts to perform general surgery procedures with the da Vinci Si surgical system. We have now used the robotic surgery technology to perform several gallbladder removals, including the first single incision gallbladder removal in the Greater Boston area completed on this robotic platform. The robotic system enhances the surgeon's skill with computer technology, enabling us to see vital anatomical structures more clearly and perform surgical procedures more precisely. Robotic surgery offers the same positive benefits to our patients as other forms of minimally invasive surgery and continues to elevate the strength of our surgical offerings.

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