Minimally invasive surgery offers many advantages for children, including faster healing, shorter hospital stays, less pain and reduced trauma to normal tissues.
Technological advances now allow surgeons to perform many surgical procedures in a minimally invasive manner. Instead of traditional incisions, which may require weeks for complete healing, minimally invasive procedures use instruments that allow physicians to see inside the body and perform the needed procedures with small incisions that heal more rapidly.
Thoracoscopic procedures involve the chest, while laparoscopic procedures involve the abdomen. In these surgeries, instruments called telescopes, or scopes, are used for diagnostic testing. However, many therapeutic interventions can also be done via scopes with special instruments designed for use through access tubes.
Examples of procedures that can often be done with minimally invasive surgery include appendectomy (appendix removal), many cases of intra-thoracic biopsies, reconstruction of congenital lesions, identification and descent of a non-descended testis, some forms of chest wall reconstruction, and diagnostic thoracoscopy and diagnostic laparoscopy. The technology for minimally invasive procedures is changing rapidly, and the list of possible procedures done with scopes is in constant revision.
Lurie Children's also offers robotic surgery for certain pediatric conditions, an approach particularly well-suited for complex intra-abdominal procedures and reconstructive urologic surgery. About 80 percent of robotic surgery cases are done in urology.