Minimally Invasive Surgery

Throughout time, surgery has been predominately hands-on and requires doctors to make large incisions. Now, technology is paving the way for minimally invasive surgical procedures to become more standard. For patients, this means faster recovery times, less pain and fewer scars.

Hugo Bonatti, M.D., of Meritus Surgical Specialists, says that large incisions are not always necessary in surgeries. Instead, he recommends minimally invasive procedures for many surgical situations and believes the benefits are undeniable.

Less is more

Dr. Bonatti explains that minimally invasive procedures require a small incision where a tiny camera is placed into the patient. This projects an image onto an operating screen and enables the surgeon to accurately perform procedures while minimizing tissue damage.

Patients who experience a minimally invasive procedure tend to have less pain, a faster recovery, reduced scaring, less blood loss and a lower risk of infection, according to Dr. Bonatti. Usually, patients go home on the same day as the surgery – similar to if they had hernia repair surgeries or appendectomies - and are able to return to work faster. While traditional surgical procedures can lead to an average recovery time of six weeks for most patients, minimally invasive techniques can trim that healing time by half.

Lifestyle changes may help

Minimally invasive procedures are changing surgery for the better, but Dr. Bonatti still believes the healthiest solution is to make other changes before deciding on non-emergent surgery. Whenever possible, he encourages his patients to first make lifestyle modifications to help improve their situations. Healthy eating, exercise and stopping the use of tobacco products all improve a patient’s overall wellness and may sometimes reduce the need for non-emergent surgeries all together.

Talk about options

One conversation that is inevitable after surgery is pain relief, according to Dr. Bonatti. He encourages patients to discuss alternative options to traditional pain medications with their surgeons. Access to minimally invasive options is very important to Dr. Bonatti, who believes that every patient should know that in many cases, these procedures are available for their surgical needs.

Smaller and smaller

As technology continues to advance, so do improvements to enhance minimally invasive procedures. Better cameras, higher resolution screens and ultrasonic technology are all evolving to improve surgical experiences. Dr. Bonatti anticipates even smaller incisions in the future, bringing micro-invasive procedures to the forefront to eventually replace minimally invasive surgeries.

Meritus Health, at 11116 Medical Campus Road, east of Hagerstown, is the largest health system in the area, providing hospital and outpatient services to the community. For more information about programs and services, go to