Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is a technique for performing routine surgeries that results in less pain and quicker recovery for your pet. Studies have shown that both pain and recovery times for minimally-invasive laparoscopic spays are decreased by over 65%. Most owners report that their pet is “back to normal” the same evening of the surgery, and act like they haven’t had anything done by the following day!
Another recent study that included 175 dogs and cats has shown an 80% reduction in surgery site infections when comparing minimally invasive surgeries to the same procedures performed using traditional methods. Some other added benefits of minimally invasive surgeries include decreased bleeding, better surgeon visualization, and higher safety overall.
Instead of opening up the body to get our hands to where the work is, we place metal tubes called “ports” into the body wall. These range from 3mm to 12mm - just a fraction of the opening needed to get two hands and a retractor into a patient. The ports are placed primarily through blunt dissection, minimizing discomfort. No retraction is needed since we use a fiberoptic camera and specialized instruments that are introduced through the ports.
The camera has the magnification power of a dissecting microscope and has a built-in Xenon light source, so the surgeon enjoys both magnification and illumination far superior to what they would get in a traditional surgery. This means the surgeon can see what they are doing better, without needing to make a big hole or retract the body wall. Very little tissue handling is involved. We use blown air, saline irrigation, and patient body positioning to access the job site. Delicate MIS instruments are used for any tissue manipulation.
The total amount of blood loss form a MIS procedure if typically less than that from just making a skin incision to start a traditional surgery. This means the patient isn’t weakened when they recover, and there is less potential for bacteria to grow and cause a post-operative infection.
Once we’re done the surgery, the port sites are typically closed with a single suture, which saves time and leaves very little suture material behind to irritate the patient. This is fantastic, particularly in high-strung dogs and cats where self-trauma and licking are often a problem, and removing sutures can be a challenge in itself. Most of our patients do not require an e-collar, so no getting stuck in doorway or bumping into tables! In fact, we routinely hear from our clients that they can’t tell their pet had surgery the next day.
It is no surprise that MIS is the preferred approach in 90% of abdominal surgery performed on humans, and now your pets can benefit from this fantastic option as well.