Minimally Invasive Surgery
What are the advantages of MIS?
The advantages of MIS include very small scars, which are difficult to see after several months, less pain after surgery and usually a shorter hospital stay. In younger children this advantage is less noticeable because young children recover easier from even major surgery. In school-age and adolescent children, however, the difference is very noticeable. In many cases children can go home in one to two days instead of three to four days. They will be able to return to their normal activities more quickly as well. This will depend upon the particular operation, but even after a kidney operation it can be possible to be back to normal activity in seven days instead of two or three weeks.
Are there any disadvantages to MIS?
There are relatively few disadvantages to MIS methods as long as the surgeon is experienced in them. More surgeons are being trained in these methods and it is becoming a routine part of training in many centers. In rare cases, the operation will not be able to be finished laparoscopically, due to unusual anatomy, bleeding or complications from the procedure. In these cases the operation will nearly always be finished by traditional methods of "open" surgery with an incision.
However, there are many procedures which MIS is not appropriate for. Technical limitations of MIS equipment -- such as lack of dexterity of the tools -- make it unsuitable for many pediatric procedures.
The overall safety of MIS techniques appears to be equivalent to open surgery in both children and adults. As with all surgery, the experience of the surgeon and the center where it is being performed is very important to the outcome of the operation.