In simple terms, minimally invasive surgery is done through small incisions. Using specialized techniques, miniature cameras with microscopes, tiny fiber-optic flashlights and high definition monitors, Mayo Clinic surgeons in many specialties can perform surgery through an incision that requires only a stitch or two to close. For patients, minimally invasive surgery can minimize pain, speed up recovery and eliminate potential complications.
For most procedures, surgeons trained in MIP use trocars (thin tubes) placed through three to five small, dime-sized incisions. After the trocars are inserted, carbon dioxide gas is used to inflate the abdomen and create a working space between the internal organs and the skin. Then a videoscope is placed through one of the trocars so that the surgical team can view the procedure from video monitors in the operating room. The image on the video monitors is magnified, which provides better visibility for the operating room staff. Specialized instruments are placed through the other trocars to perform the operation. In some procedures, like MIP for colon conditions, a slightly larger incision may be needed while in other procedures, such as MIP for hemorrhoid surgery, no incisions and no trocars are needed.