Minimally invasive surgery is performed through small incisions made in the body, which allow surgeons to operate with the use of high-resolution video imaging and microinstrumentation. Normally, three incisions are made. One allows surgeons to insert an endoscope (tube and viewing system) within the body, while the other two incisions are used to insert and manipulate surgical instruments. Another small incision sometimes is needed when an organ or tissue is removed.

Minimally invasive surgery offers a number of advantages for patients. Because of the small incisions, this type of surgery usually leads to quicker recovery, less pain and less scarring. Hospital stays are shorter, and patients generally resume their normal activities much sooner than those who undergo open surgeries.

The first endoscopic surgery was performed in 1989, and pediatric surgeons began using the technique in 1995. Washington University pediatric surgeons at St. Louis Children’s Hospital performed their first minimally invasive surgery in 1997. The hospital has an advanced surgical suite exclusively for minimally invasive surgical procedures.

For an appointment with a pediatric surgeon, call (314) 454-6022.