What is Incisionless Surgery?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 January 2020
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Incisionless surgery is a relatively new innovation in surgical techniques that rely on utilizing the natural orifices and passageways in the body. This is in contrast to traditional methods that often involve creating an incision in order to perform various surgical procedures. While not currently accepted worldwide, the concept of this type of surgery is becoming more popular and is likely to become a standard practice in most if not all of the world over the next several years.

Proponents of incisionless surgery usually classify the strategy as being non-invasive or at least minimally invasive. By using the natural pathways to reach various organs in the body, the degree of trauma to the patient is significantly lessened, which helps to make the recovery period shorter and less stressful. Supporters of this type of surgical procedure also note that there is some evidence that the potential for infection is also much less than with more conventional approaches.


For the patient, there are also other benefits to the use of incisionless surgery. There is less pain to deal with after the surgery. With no incisions made into the skin, there are no worries about moving in a wrong direction or coughing, and possibly loosening the stitches used to close an incision. There is no external scar to serve as a reminder of the surgery. The patient is also likely to spend less time recuperating in the hospital and can spend the majority of the recovery period in the comfort of home.

In practice, incisionless surgery would allow the insertion of small robotic devices into some orifice of the body, where they would then travel to the area requiring medical attention. For example, the device may be inserted via the mouth, move past the esophagus and into the stomach. From there, the device can use lasers or other tools to move through the stomach wall and reach other internal organs, such as the gall bladder, liver, or the appendix. Once the organ is repaired or removed, the device reverses direction, repairs the damage to the stomach wall, and travels back to the mouth where it is expelled.

Incisionless surgery also allows for the use of multiple devices if necessary. This means that procedures such as an endoscopy, laparoscopy or even ultrasound can be conducted with minimal discomfort and risk for the patient. Along with a laser, the devices are equipped with cameras to transmit visual images to the surgeon, usually via a computer connection. The surgeon is able to control the movement of the devices with the same level of expertise as when using traditional surgical equipment.



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