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A guide to Minimally Invasive Procedures (MIP)


…when compared to open surgery

Minimally Invasive Procedures (MIPs), also called laparoscopic surgeries, use state-of-the-art technology to perform abdominal surgery. Patients who choose MIP usually enjoy faster recoveries and shorter hospital stays when compared to surgery patients. MIPs have been proven to be just as effective as surgery, while getting patients back to the things that are important to them sooner. Between 1993 and 2004, MIPs were used to successfully treat more than 20 million Americans. Ask your healthcare provider whether or not you are a candidate for MIP.

What happens during a minimally invasive procedure?

During an MIP, a small, dime-sized incision is made in the patient's abdomen through which a miniature camera, or videoscope, and specialized instruments are inserted to perform the procedure. MIP reduces the need for a long, incision that may cut through large amounts of skin and muscle. With MIP, less is more.

open hysterectomy

Open hysterectomy approach

MIP (laparoscopic) hysterectomy

MIP hysterectomy approach

Compare scarring, open and mip hysterectomy

Scarring difference between an open and MIP hysterectomy procedure

Side-by-side comparison
Open surgery: Minimally Invasive Procedure:
  • Surgeons create a incision, a cut through skin and muscle to reach the affected organs and tissue
  • Typically performed in hospitals as inpatient procedures
  • Hospital recovery times can range from waiting for anesthesia to wear off to more than a week under nursing care
  • Recovery time at home can be measured in weeks
  • The patient can have a large scar
  • Incisions and cutting of tissue and muscle can often be painful
  • Surgeons make small, dime-sized incisions to insert miniature cameras and specialized instruments to perform the procedure inside the body
  • Often performed as outpatient procedures in hospitals or surgery centers
  • Hospital recovery can sometimes be reduced to half the amount of time required for open surgeries
  • Patients are able to return to their normal routines and work more quickly
  • Most incisions are small. Smaller incisions typically lead to less pain and less need for pain medication

Minimally invasive procedures help you recover sooner

No one wants to stay in a hospital any longer than necessary. Patients who choose MIP are often able to leave the hospital sooner than patients who undergo surgery. In addition, recovery times at home are typically shorter. That means you can get back to your routine in less time with an MIP than it might take with (open) surgery. Since a MIP requires smaller incisions than surgery, there is less trauma to your body.

Minimally invasive procedures cause less scarring

Many surgeries leave patients with large, unsightly scars. But that's usually not an issue for patients who choose MIP. Most incisions from MIPs are small (about the size of a dime), and many people won't even notice them after they have healed.

Minimally invasive procedures cause less pain

Since a MIP requires a smaller incision (opening) than a surgery does, the procedure is less disruptive to the body. As a result, there is typically less pain associated with an MIP and less need for pain medication following the procedure.

Learn more about specific MIPs

MIPs are just as effective as surgery. Many abdominal surgeries can be performed as either an MIP or a method. It's important to know that the surgical outcomes are the same. MIPs have been shown to be just as effective as surgery for many procedures, such as:

Know the risks

All surgical procedures have risks, but the risk for serious complications depends on your medical condition and age, as well as on your surgeon's and anesthesiologist's experience. Ask your healthcare provider or surgeon about what to expect after surgery as well as the risks that may occur with any surgery, including:

Additionally, open surgery has a greater potential for:

Are minimally invasive procedures right for you?

Choosing MIP vs. open surgery

For some patients, MIPs are not an appropriate choice. Your surgeon will help you determine the best choice for you and will consider factors such as:

The decision to perform a MIP or open surgery should be made during a discussion with your surgeon. Sometimes a procedure can start out as a MIP, but may have to be converted to open surgery based on the factors listed above.

Talk to your healthcare provider

Your surgeon can help you decide which treatment option is right for your condition. The questions below can help you talk with your healthcare provider or surgeon.

If you're not satisfied with the responses you receive, consider asking for a second opinion. You are an integral part of your healthcare team and you should feel comfortable with the selected treatment and surgeon.


©2010 Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.
a Johnson & Johnson company

Images courtesy of Johnson & Johnson

National Center for Biotechnology Information, NCBI
U.S. National Library of Medicine

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