Over time, since man has learned to use surgical treatments to cure, the picture one could not avoid bringing to mind was that of long scars across the body, or stitches resembling something like a centipede or a railway track. Surgical techniques have come a long way since its beginning, with the introduction and application of new, innovative techniques, particularly the use of miniature cameras to aid doctors in performing surgery. This innovation has provided the benefits of much smaller incisions and better postoperative quality of life for patients (small incision, less pain) and it is properly known as laparoscopic surgery. Today, laparoscopic surgery continues to advance at a rapid rate, its primary objective being to reduce the size of surgical incisions and thus minimize pain or trauma to tissue in the body, in accordance with the principles behind Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS).
With conventional laparoscopic surgery, one can expect two to four very small incisions in the abdominal area, approximately 0.5 to 1 cm each. By contrast, with traditional open abdominal surgery, the size of the incision on the abdomen is about eight to 15 cm long. The main advantages of conventional laparoscopic surgery, then, are far less postoperative pain and a much shorter recovery period, allowing the patient to return to their everyday life and activities much more quickly. Additionally, the obvious cosmetic advantage is the greatly reduced incision size.
Conventional laparoscopic surgery has been further developed to what is now called single port laparoscopic surgery. From what used to be two to four incision sites with the conventional method, has now been reduced to a single small incision at the entry point—the umbilicus. The key benefit of single port laparoscopic surgery is its highly superior cosmetic results; as once the procedure is finished, the umbilicus is gently folded back into its original position, and thus the healed incision leaves practically no visible scar. The many other benefits are comparable to those of conventional laparoscopic surgery.
Scarless abdominal surgery, or as it is known in medical terms, Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), is a form of laparoscopic surgery that has been further advanced and developed from the conventional laparoscopic surgery approach, but with entry through a natural orifice, such as the mouth, anus, vagina, etc. The safest and most favored approach at present is transvaginal. The transvaginal approach is accomplished by passing the tiny camera and instruments through the vaginal cavity to perform surgery. Because every phase of this surgical procedure is performed using the vaginal port, it means that the most obvious advantages are the aesthetic and cosmetic benefits, since there is no incision made in the abdominal area. With this procedure, the postoperative pain is far less than with any other kind of laparoscopic surgery that goes through the abdomen and it also boasts a much faster postoperative recovery period.
|Open Abdominal Surgery
|Conventional Laparoscopic Surgery
|Single-Port Laparoscopic Surgery
|Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES)
|0.5-1 cm, 2-4 sites
|2 cm, 1 site in the umbilicus
|No incisions in the abdominal area
|Hospital recovery period
|Probability of postoperative fibrosis
|Risk level of surgical site infection
|Risk level for incisional hernia
Particular natures of various diseases require varying types of surgical procedures. Patients who are interested in undergoing single port or scarless laparoscopic surgery must first receive a thorough physical examination and evaluation by an experienced OB/GYN specializing in gynecologic laparoscopic surgery. This exam is done in order to determine the feasibility of single port or scarless laparoscopic surgery in that particular patient, as well as to identify which method would be best suited to the patient and their specific needs, and to allow all of our patients to receive the greatest benefit possible from the treatment provided.