The Basics of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Over the years, options for certain surgeries have become less invasive and, as a result, less arduous of an experience for patients. Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association is proud to offer this manner of treatment for our incredible patients, and today, we want to cover the basics of minimally invasive surgery.


What Is It? 

Minimally invasive surgery is an approach that performs surgical procedures with minimal disruption to the body’s normal anatomy. It utilizes specialized instruments and technologies that help accomplish surgeries through small incisions as opposed to large openings. 

To start, we’re going to contrast two kinds of minimally invasive procedures: laparoscopic and robotic.



  • Method: This traditional technique involves the use of a laparoscope, which is a thin, lighted tube with a fiberoptic camera and specialized instruments. The surgeon will directly control these tools.
  • Surgeon’s Role: Again, the surgeon manipulates these instruments manually. Movements are transmitted mechanically, and the surgeon has an actual hands-on approach.
  • Control: The surgeon has direct control over these tools, feeling resistance and feedback during the procedure.
  • Equipment: These instruments are rigid and controlled by hand.

Robotic Surgery

  • Method: This type of operation involves a robotic surgical system, where a surgeon sits and at a console and operates robotic arms. This can involve either multiple small incisions or a single incision, even for complex surgeries. 
  • Surgeon’s Role: The surgeon’s hand movements are translated into the precise movements of the arms, which in turn assists in navigating the surgical site without issue.
  • Control: The surgeon has a magnified, 3D view of the site and can carefully control the robotic arms. There is, however, no tactile feedback.
  • Equipment: Robotic instruments are flexible and have a greater range of motion than traditional laparoscopic instruments. 

The Basics of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Advantages of Minimally Invasive Surgery

There are a number of advantages attributed to this method of surgery, in either variation, compared to open surgeries.

  • Smaller Incisions: In this case, small usually means less than an inch in length. This means reduced trauma to surrounding tissues and considerably less discomfort and pain during recovery. The use of a camera lets the surgeon view the site without disturbing areas that aren’t attributed to the operation.
  • Faster Recovery: In addition to being more comfortable, recovery tends to be much quicker. The smaller incisions mean quicker healing, shorter hospital stays, and more prompt resumption of normal activities. 
  • Reduced Scarring: Resulting scars tend to be less noticeable, which is particularly important from a cosmetic standpoint on areas that are plainly visible.
  • Less Blood Loss/Risk of Infection: Some patients can be at risk of complications due to blood loss, making this an ideal option. The smaller scale also means less vulnerability to infection in the postoperative stage. 
  • Improved Precision: Due to the use of advanced technologies like robotics and laparoscopic cameras, surgeons can be extremely detailed during procedures and execute them without issue.

Connection to Gynecology

In our field, we use this technique to address a number of conditions related to the female reproductive system.

  1. The laparoscopy is used in procedures like ovarian cyst removal and treatment of endometriosis.
  2. A hysteroscopy is a procedure in which a hysteroscope (which is also a small, movable camera) is inserted through the vagina and cervix to access the uterus. We utilize this for polyp removal, fibroid removal, and endometrial ablation.
  3. There are a number of ways we can execute a hysterectomy in a minimally invasive way, usually only needing five or so incisions in total. Traditionally, this can be a major surgery to remove the uterus. It treats a number of conditions, and the minimally invasive method allows for quicker recovery and less pain in the patient. 


Other FAQs

Q: Is minimally invasive surgery for everyone?

The short answer is no. It depends on the specific surgery needed, the patient’s health, and the skills of the surgeon.

Q: Are there any risks involved?

Any type of surgery carries some degree of risk (infection, bleeding, etc.), but complications are rare. We will discuss potential risks at length before the procedure itself. Generally speaking, opting for this type of surgery means there’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed, and this is the best solution we can elect.

Q: What are other procedures that can be done this way?

Outside of the gynecological field, other procedures like gallbladder removal, hernia repair, and prostate surgery can all be completed this way.

The Basics of Minimally Invasive Surgery

MOGA is Committed to Excellence 

We want to emphasize the fact that you should not be afraid of this manner of operation. Our providers are professionals, and this is truly an excellent alternative to what could be a much more serious operation. In the end, the highest priority is your health and wellness before, during, and after the procedure. If you have any questions for our doctors, you can schedule an appointment at one of our four offices (Wolfchase, East Memphis, Germantown, and DeSoto) at 901-843-1500.