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August 15, 2018 | Orthopedics • Value-Based Care
Doctors are able to perform minimally invasive surgeries using modern technology and advanced surgical techniques. This technique does not require as many or as large incisions when compared to open surgery, which uses bigger incisions to expose a wider area of the body.
The most common type of minimally invasive surgery in orthopedics is called arthroscopy, a procedure in which your doctor inserts a special instrument into the incision that magnifies, illuminates and projects the joint onto a television screen. This technique has many benefits, including:
Because your surgeon will only need to make small incisions, you will have smaller and less noticeable scarring. Unlike incisions made in open surgical procedures, these smaller incisions do not need to be made through the muscle, resulting in less tissue damage. Minimally invasive surgery also creates less scar tissue (excess scar tissue can lead to adhesions and postoperative stiffness).
As a result of smaller incisions and fewer stitches, the healing time after a minimally invasive procedure is much quicker than that of traditional surgery. Pain and postoperative swelling are also decreased using this technique, which allows patients to get back to their regular activities sooner. Decreased pain also leads to reduced narcotic use, which can be harmful to patients when taken incorrectly.
It’s estimated that 1 in 24 patients will develop a surgical site infection following a procedure Minimally invasive procedures result in smaller wounds, reducing the likelihood if infection.
Most minimally invasive procedures can be performed in a surgical center, which costs about 45-60 percent less than the same procedure in a hospital setting. This is because hospitals have higher overhead costs than surgical centers. However, those who do need to have their minimally invasive procedure in a hospital often have shorter hospital stays, which result in lower out-of-pocket costs.
Arthroscopy allows physicians to visualize the joint just as well as open surgery. This is because arthroscopy uses technology to provide high-quality, detailed images of the joint—similar to X-rays or CT scans but more precise.
In addition to thumb, wrist, elbow, shoulder, ankle, knee and hip arthroscopies, other minimally invasive procedures orthopedic surgeons can perform include total hip and knee arthroplasties, Achilles tendon repair, discectomy and many others.
Minimally invasive orthopedic surgery is a great alternative to open surgery, but it is not right for everyone. You may need open surgery if:
You and your doctor will have to consider several factors to determine if you are a good candidate for a minimally invasive procedure.
“Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Surgery: Arthroscopy.” National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117522/
“What are the Advantages of Arthroscopic Surgery?” Cedars-Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital. https://www.marinahospital.com/faq/what-are-the-advantages-of-arthroscopy
“What is Open Surgery? Is it Right for You?” VeryWell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/open-surgery-3157124
“Benefits of Minimally Invasive Procedures.” UChicago Medicine. http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/minisurgery/benefits/index.html
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.