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Archive September 2016 XVII, No. 9

5 Trends to Watch in Abdominal Surgery

New technologies that maximize patient outcomes are headed your way.

Kendal Gapinski

Kendal Gapinski, Contributing Editor


New devices and technologies are making abdominal surgery easier, safer and more efficient than ever before. From better treatment options for obese patients to an impending influx of surgical robots, we talked to the experts to find out their thoughts on these 5 abdominal surgery trends.

1 Mini-lap's changing role
While mini-laparoscopy was thought to be the next big thing in laparoscopy, surgeons we talked to say its appeal has diminished somewhat.

"It's not the rage right now," says Daniel Jones, MD, FACS, chief of minimally invasive surgical services at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass. "There was a lot of interest before, but it's since waned. Having 2-mm holes looks nicer, but most people think, 'Let's save that healthcare dollar.'"

Though some say mini-lap has several potential advantages over laparoscopy, including less post-op pain and fewer complications, Dr. Jones notes that mini-lap's biggest draw may be cosmetic — a smaller incision size that means minimal scarring. Because of this, he notes, the technique is taking off in facilities located within highly competitive markets "where they're not as sensitive to costs."

However, certain procedures done with mini-lap can actually end up saving a facility money, says Aurora D. Pryor, MD, professor of surgery and vice chair for clinical affairs at Stony Brook (N.Y.) School of Medicine. Some mini-lap systems require fewer disposable devices for each case, depending on the manufacturer. "Some of these devices have reusable ports or they don't need a port because it's inserted through the skin," she says. "That can end up saving money over conventional laparoscopy."

Mini-lap can also reduce pain and the risk of hernia following surgery, adds Dr. Pryor. It's easy to add to a facility, too, especially with updated systems featuring sturdier handles, ergonomic grips and more effective working tips. "The technique is so similar to laparoscopy. The surgeon is just using smaller instruments," says Dr. Pryor. "Anything you can do laparoscopically, you can do with mini-lap."

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