When it comes to treatment, less can sometimes be more. Minimally invasive techniques, which range from catheter (or endovascular) procedures to robotic surgery, allow doctors to use state-of-the-art tools to minimize damage to muscles, organs and soft tissue — often sending patients home in less time and with less pain, blood loss and scarring.
The following are just a few available at Rush University Medical Center:
The heart: When a faulty mitral valve causes blood to leak backward toward the lungs with each heartbeat, cardiac specialists may opt for the MitraClip procedure. Via a catheter, a tiny clip is inserted to hold the flaps of the mitral valve together, stopping the leak.
The lungs: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery makes it possible to remove diseased portions of a lung, such as a cancerous tumor, using only two small incisions — one for the camera and light source that allow the surgeon to see, and one for the necessary surgical tools.
The kidney: Single-incision laparoscopic surgery for living kidney donation involves only one incision (hidden at the belly button) to both accommodate surgical instruments and remove the kidney. Standard laparoscopy uses three or four small incisions for instruments, plus a four-inch incision to remove the kidney. Rush is currently the only hospital in Illinois to offer the single-incision option.
The prostate: Using 3-D, high-definition robotic surgery to remove part or all of a cancerous prostate allows for better precision, protecting the anatomy and nerves that affect urinary and sexual function.
The brain: To treat a cerebral aneurysm — a blood-filled bulge in a brain vessel — doctors may use a catheter to place a flexible mesh tube inside the blood vessel. The tube diverts blood past the aneurysm, allowing it to shrink and heal.
The shoulder: Orthopedic surgeons at Rush can repair a damaged rotator cuff — the group of muscles that stabilize the shoulder — using small incisions and an arthroscope, a tube equipped with a camera and tiny surgical instruments. Recovery time for this outpatient procedure is often shorter than for traditional shoulder surgery.
The leg: When blood flow to the legs is reduced because of peripheral vascular disease — a circulation disorder in which blood vessels outside the heart become narrowed or blocked — doctors can remove the plaque buildup using a tiny drill, restoring blood flow to the feet and legs.
The foot: To correct painful bunions, the Mini TightRope procedure, developed at Rush, pulls the big toe into position via special wires threaded through tiny holes drilled into the bones. Before this procedure was available, surgeons had to break or cut into the bone, an operation that can result in weeks on crutches.
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