Originally founded in 1823 as the Baltimore Infirmary, the University of Maryland Medical Center has an extensive history of providing cutting-edge and compassionate health care to patients with complicated medical problems. That tradition continues now as physicians use the most advanced technology available to perform more minimally invasive procedures than ever before.
Minimally invasive surgery, also referred to as laparoscopic, videoscopic or keyhole surgery, uses magnifying cameras, catheters, and scopes to perform procedures through very small incisions, sometimes as small as 1/16 of an inch. Because the incision site is so small, there is a lower risk of infection.
During a minimally invasive surgery, a fiber optic instrument is inserted in the abdomen, neck or chest, depending on what procedure is being done. The laparoscope transmits images from within the body to a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to see the operative area on a screen.
Recognized for pioneering advances in laparoscopic surgery, surgeons at the University of Maryland have performed many of Maryland’s first laparoscopic procedures, including the first videoscopic hernia repair, colon resection, nephrectomy and splenectomy. Now, some of the frequent minimally invasive surgeries performed here include gastrointestinal surgeries, kidney transplants, heart valve repair (aortic and mitral), lung resections and splenectomies.
Minimally invasive techniques extend beyond the operating room. Within the department of diagnostic radiology, neouroradiologists are treating serious diseases without traditional surgical incisions.
Patients no longer need an opening in the skull to cure potentially life-threatening aneurysms. Both unruptured and ruptured aneurysms can be cured by placing coils into the defect.
These tiny coils are positioned in vessels at the base of the brain through a small catheter, measuring less than one millimeter. The whole procedure is completed through a tiny knick over the blood vessel in the groin. Most patients with unruptured aneurysms are home in three days, and back to normal activity in a week.
Back pain is a common complaint. Neuroradiologists at the University of Maryland treat many sources of back pain with a variety of minimally invasive techniques done on an outpatient basis. For vertebral fractures in patients with osteoporosis, neuroradiologists are performing percutaneous vertebroplasty. Using a procedure developed at the University of Maryland, doctors are effectively placing a cast within the broken bone by injecting cement into the fractured vertebra through a small needle. Most patients, even if bedridden, return to their normal activity within 3 or 4 days.
At the University of Maryland Medical Center, the goal is to heal patients and have them return to normal life as quickly as possible. For a wide range of patients minimally invasive techniques are the treatment of choice in attaining this goal.