Minimally Invasive & Robotic-Assisted Surgery

As you and your doctor consider surgery to treat your particular health condition, your options may include minimally invasive endoscopic, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted procedures. All minimally invasive procedures share the common approach of using much smaller incisions than typically required by traditional open surgery.

Innovative Surgical Services Close to Home

When you choose OU Health in Oklahoma City, Edmond and Tulsa for a wide range of surgery services, you can stay close to home while you gain access to highly skilled surgeons. These fellowship-trained specialists bring years of extensive experience to your care by using innovative techniques and the latest in advanced surgical technology, including robotic-assisted procedures, to achieve the best possible outcomes for you.

How You Benefit from Minimally Invasive Techniques

Because minimally invasive approaches combine accurate image guidance and precise control of surgical technology with tiny incisions, you may benefit in many ways, such as:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Lower risk of infections or complications
  • Less bleeding and scarring
  • Reduced need for pain medications
  • Less pain and discomfort overall
  • Exceptional ability to remove cancer-related tissues
  • Faster recovery and often better medical outcomes
  • Quicker return to the activities you enjoy and the life you love

Minimally Invasive Surgery Procedures & Treatments

While minimally invasive techniques continue to advance and encompass procedures for an increasing number and variety of health conditions, you’ll want to talk with your OU Health doctor or surgeon to determine the best approach – minimally invasive or traditional open surgery – to meet your individual needs. For the minimally invasive approach, you may take advantage of endoscopic, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted procedures.

Endoscopic Procedures

Through an endoscope, a small flexible tube equipped with a light and camera lens, your doctor can examine internal organs, check for abnormalities or take tissue samples for testing, usually without making a large incision.

An endoscopic procedure looks inside the hollow organs of your body, such as those in the digestive (gastrointestinal) tract, including the esophagus, intestines or colon. If anything needs attention during the exam, your doctor can attach tiny surgical instruments to perform a procedure, often while avoiding a large incision. Endoscopic ultrasound creates both visual images and ultrasound images for greater detail and accuracy.

Endoscopes customized for use in specific areas of the body carry the name of the target organ and the related procedure, such as:

  • Bronchoscopy – Examines lung tissues in a procedure called a bronchoscopy; places flexible fiber-optic instrument into the windpipe (trachea) to evaluate possible lung conditions or blockage, to obtain tissue samples or help remove a foreign object; may attach tiny instruments for surgical procedures
  • Colonoscopy – Examines the interior of the colon and rectum (lower digestive tract) to check for pre-cancerous or cancerous cells or polyps, which may be removed during the procedure for evaluation

Laparoscopic Procedures

A laparoscope – an endoscope adapted for use in the abdomen – helps specialists at OU Health examine internal organs using one or more small incisions for an accurate diagnosis. To collect tissue samples or perform a surgical procedure during the exam, your doctor can attach small instruments.

Alternatively, you and your doctor may choose a laparoscopic procedure to directly address a specific condition such as bleeding in the belly, blockages or growths, ovarian cysts, benign fibroids, gallbladder inflammation or stones, infections, the need for enteral (feeding) or dialysis access ports or other situations.

Your particular health condition and status may determine whether your procedure uses a laparoscopic approach or a robotic-assisted approach.

  • Thoracoscopy – Requires a small incision in the chest to examine lungs, chest wall (mediastinum), lining of the lung (pleura) and related organs for diagnosis or to collect tissue samples; may attach tiny instruments for surgical procedures; also known as video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS); also used to repair a collapsed lung, to drain fluid around the lung, determine cancer stages or other conditions

Robotic-Assisted Procedures

Advanced robotic-assisted surgical technology – used in leading hospitals and healthcare systems around the nation for more than 20 years – helps your expert OU Health surgeons perform previously impossible, challenging, delicate and complex procedures. By precisely manipulating robotic “arms,” your surgeon gains greater dexterity, control and visibility while needing only minimal incisions, which helps improve your experience during surgery and speeds your follow-up care and recovery.

Your OU Health surgeons use both the newest Transenterix Flex Robot for endoscopic microsurgery and the da Vinci® / da Vinci Si HD Surgical Systems with 3D high-definition imaging for exceptional accuracy, as well as precision instruments such as the EndoWrist to extend range of motion for difficult-to-reach areas. You and your doctors and surgical care team can take advantage of minimally invasive robotic-assisted procedures for a wide range of situations, including:

  • Hernia – Repairs a tear in abdominal wall muscle that allows intestines or an internal organ to slip through, causing pain and other health issues
  • Hysterectomy – Removes uterus; may address chronic pelvic pain, related issues
  • Kidney cancer – May preserve kidney by precision removal of tumor
  • Prostate cancer – Radical prostatectomy removes prostate gland and local tumor
  • Uterine fibroids – Myomectomy removes benign tumor(s) than can cause pelvic pain, frequent urination, difficulty getting pregnant
  • Vaginal / uterine prolapse – Sacrocolpopexy reconstructs pelvic floor muscles and ligaments to support pelvic organs, reduce pain and maintain proper function

Treatment Tailored to Your Needs

Whether you face a challenging or complex situation, or you need routine care, you and your doctor may choose minimally invasive endoscopic, laparoscopic or robotic-assisted procedures at OU Health for:

  • Bariatric surgery (weight loss) – Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; sleeve gastrectomy
  • Colon and rectal surgery – Total or partial colon removal/large bowel resection (colectomy); rectal prolapse repair; transanal resection of rectal cancer; part of the multidisciplinary disease-site-based colon and rectal cancer surgery program at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center
  • General surgery and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery (MIGS) – Supports a wide range of surgical needs; usually related to abdominal issues, including fundoplication (Nissen procedure) for acid reflux/GERD; hiatal and multiple types of hernia repair; correction of intestinal malrotation (Ladd’s procedure); distal pancreatectomy; removal of spleen, adrenal glands, appendix; other conditions
  • Gynecologic surgery – Removal of ovaries (oophorectomy) or fallopian tubes (salpingectomy); bladder surgery for incontinence (Burch urethropexy); cervical, endometrial, uterine cancer; pelvic and ovarian masses; endometriosis; lymph node dissection; ovarian cancer staging
  • Head and neck surgery – Larynx and throat-related benign and malignant conditions; endocrine-related issues of thyroid, parathyroid, other conditions
  • Neurosurgery – Brain-related conditions; conditions of the nerves, nervous system
  • Thoracic surgery – Lung lobe removal; thymus removal (thymectomy) for mass or myasthenia gravis; resection of lung nodules; esophagus removal (esophagectomy); lung wedge resection; chest mass removal; pleural biopsy; benign foregut surgery; myotomy for achalasia; paraesophageal hernia repair; LINX placement for acid reflux
  • Urologic surgery – Kidney removal (nephrectomy), complete or partial; bladder removal (cystectomy) or reconstruction; ureteral reimplantation; adrenal removal; bowel or bladder reconstruction for congenital/spinal cord injury; pyeloplasty; ureteroureterostomy; pyelo- and ureterolithotomy; bladder diverticulectomy; urinary reconstruction; bladder augmentation
  • Vascular and endovascular surgery – Aortic aneurysm (abdominal, thoracic), carotid artery, limb preservation, peripheral vascular conditions, thoracic outlet syndrome, arterial and venous thrombolysis, varicose veins, vascular (percutaneous) access for hemodialysis

Your Minimally Invasive Surgery Care Team

At OU Health, you and your primary care doctor work with a highly skilled and extensively trained surgical team that focuses on your specific situation and your individual needs. You benefit from their years of education and hands-on fellowship training at top medical centers across the nation, as well as the continual experience they acquire by performing complex procedures every day. Everything at OU Health contributes to improving your overall outcome.

While you’re in the surgery center or hospital at OU Health, you also receive ongoing care from a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, including medical-surgical nurses and critical care nurses who focus on your safety and quality of life. Using the latest technology to monitor your situation, your care team quickly responds to your concerns and provides top-notch care to help speed your recovery.