Frequently Asked Questions About Minimally Invasive Surgery

What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) includes a number of different techniques, like laparoscopy and thoracosopy. This allows doctors to significantly reduce the size of the incisions (cuts) during an operation.


    At Children's, we perform appendix removal surgeries laparoscopically—through the belly button—so there are no scars and quicker recovery times.

    • Symptoms of an infected appendix and when to call the doctor

  • What are laparoscopy and thoracoscopy?

      Laparoscopy involves the placement of a very small camera into the abdominal cavity (usually through the belly button) so that doctors can see inside the patient's body. This is used for surgeries like appendectomies. Special instruments are passed through two or more separate openings in the belly wall. Doctors then operate by watching a television screen that projects what the camera sees inside the body. They can see the patient's organs and the surgical instruments perfectly, without having to make large incisions. 

      Thoracoscopy is when the same technique is used through a small incision in the patient's chest.

  • Can minimally invasive surgery be used for all children?

      Minimally invasive surgery can be performed on children of all ages, from newborns to adolescents. However, it may not the best option for every child, and it may not be possible for some types of surgery. At Children's, we evaluate each patient individually to make sure we are providing the best possible therapy for that child.

  • What if one parent misses the initial consultation?

      The parent who couldn't be at that visit with the doctor should contact the surgeon, so that he or she has a chance to ask questions, review the issues and have concerns addressed. The day of surgery is usually not the best time to have a full discussion with the surgeon, as you won't have time to "digest" the information you are given.

  • Is it safe to give small children general anesthesia?

      Yes. At Children's, our patients are cared for by pediatric anesthesiologists. (Anesthesiologists are the doctors who give the medicine that makes children sleep during surgery.) Like the other pediatric specialists here, have all done additional specialized training to care for children. Typically, general anesthesia given by a qualified anesthesiologist is very safe. In fact, it is statistically safer than driving on the highway.

  • What should I tell my child about the surgery?

      This depends on the age of the child.

      - For infants, it's most important that the parents communicate with each other.

      - Toddlers are most upset by separation. They may also think the surgery is a punishment, so it's important to reassure them and explain that the surgery is being done to make them feel better.

      - School-age children may have fears of anesthesia, experiencing pain, or death. It may help them to talk about the procedure or to visit the operating room before the day of surgery. They also need reassurance that everything is going to be okay.

      - Adolescents need support from their parents, but they also need to feel like they have a say in what is going on. They should participate in discussions with their doctors, and be given a voice when decisions are being made.

  • Are there any resources at Children's to help me explain the surgery to my child?

      Yes. We offer pre-admission tours. These tours are led by our child life specialists, who are trained in child development and the hospitalized. Child life specialists will help you:

      - Teach your child about illness, treatment and surgery

      - Support your child during stressful experiences

      - Provide support for your child during procedures

      - Provide you with ways to help your child cope

      You can also view photo tours of our facilities.