Minimally invasive surgery, or endoscopic surgery, is a type of surgical approach that uses the smallest possible incision to gain access to the area requiring surgery.
Generally, endoscopic minimally invasive surgery uses several small incisions through which an endoscope or lighted tube is inserted. Using the endosocope and a small video camera, the surgeon can project images from inside the brain onto monitors visible to the entire surgical team.
What is the Advantage of Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery can sometimes take the place of conventional surgery where larger incisions are required for exposure. Smaller incisions are safer, reduce the risk of infection, reduce the risk of bleeding and heal more rapidly. Recovery times after open brain surgery can take longer than those following minimally invasive surgery.
What are the Risks of Endsocopic Minimally Invasive Surgery?
With all brain surgery there is a risk of bleeding, infection and injury to any structure in the surgical area. With a smaller incision there is less risk involved.
Who is a Candidate for Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Surgery?
The most common endoscopic procedure is a ventriculoscopy. The ventricles are cavities in the brain that produce cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear, watery fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. It is a cushion for the brain and spinal cord and regulates pressure in the brain. CSF circulates through the ventricular system before it is absorbed back into the bloodstream. The CSF can be blocked by a tumor, cyst, head injury, birth defect or infection. The obstruction leads to an over accumulation of CSF in the ventricles and increased pressure in the brain. This is called obstructive hydrocephalus.
The obstruction of the CSF must be removed or diverted and until recently, the diversion was made by inserting a shunt. This involves placing a plastic tube into the ventricle to allow for drainage to another part of the body.
With endoscopic surgery, the ventricles can be viewed through an endoscope and a new hole in the membrane at the bottom of the ventricle can be made using a small tube and an inflatable balloon. The CSF can then flow around the obstruction.
When Would I Choose Open Surgery Over Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Surgery?
If you need a surgery that qualifies for an endoscopic procedure, your neurosurgeon will discuss your choices. Together you can make the right decision for you.