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Minimally Invasive Surgery


At Children’s Health℠, medical technology and expertise have made minimally invasive surgeries the best choice for many general, urologic and cardiothoracic procedures.

Minimally invasive techniques produce better outcomes and provide the patient with many benefits including less pain and trauma to tissues and organs, as well as shorter hospital stays, faster recovery and smaller surgical scars.

Recent experience shows that a significant number of congenital heart defects can be safely and accurately repaired with these types of surgeries, improving outcomes, reducing hospital stays and providing the patient with improved cosmetic results.

We offer four types of minimally invasive surgery. 

Laparoscopic surgery 

Laparoscopy allows surgical access to the abdominal and pelvic cavities through a number of small incisions or ports. Surgical instruments are introduced into the body via trocars without having to make large incisions in the skin. Carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the patient’s abdomen to lift the abdominal wall, allowing adequate space in which the surgeon can work. The entire surgical team can observe the interior of the abdomen in detail through a small video camera also threaded into place. This procedure can be used, for example, in gallbladder or appendix removal.

Minimal access surgery

Minimal access surgery is similar to laparoscopy, but goes further by using a single port, usually located at the umbilicus. It is used in general surgery and more common procedures such as gastric tube placement and appendectomies. As this technique continues to evolve, more complex minimal access surgery procedures are being performed.

Robotic surgery  

Robotic surgery involves very small surgical instruments attached to a robotic arm controlled by the surgeon using a computer and a three-dimensional imaging device. It permits the use of ports and instruments much smaller than those used in laparoscopic or minimal access surgery techniques, which is useful for more complex operations. Robotic surgery facilitates more precise movements than those made directly by a surgeon's hands. Children’s Health is the only pediatric hospital in North Texas using a surgical robot and one of a few pediatric centers in the country performing routine procedures with the robot, such as for partial or total nephrectomy, pyeloplasty, orchiopexy, atrial septal defect and mitral valve surgery. 

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a type of minimally invasive surgery used in certain thoracic and lung procedures. Several small ports allow the use of a miniature videoscope that permits the surgeon to view the anatomy of the area under operation and the movement of the small instruments. Some VATS processes use a combination of a videoscope with traditional instrumentation. VATS helps to avoid the more invasive, traditional thoracotomy or sternotomy and helps diminish the patient’s pain and trauma to the body. It can be used to safely clip-occlude a patent ductus arteriosus.

Medical partners

Children’s Medical Center Dallas partners with UT Southwestern Medical Center, home to one of the country’s most comprehensive educational facilities for minimally invasive surgery.

UT Southwestern Minimally Invasive Surgery equips physicians, surgeons and nurses with the latest techniques used in minimally invasive surgery.

In June 2006, this program was one of only seven in North America to receive accreditation as a Level I American College of Surgeons (ACS) Accredited Education Institute.