Since its introduction in the late 1980s, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has revolutionised the way we operate our patients. Simple rod lenses and slender biopsy forceps turned into sophisticated video cameras and energy-based instruments enabling more complex procedures. Once the advantages of MIS using these simple technologies were fully understood, surgeons and engineers began developing new techniques, introducing new technologies and opening the horizon for better patient care. Over the last four decades, we have witnessed an exponential growth of medical devices directed towards improving our capabilities in MIS and transforming it into the procedure of choice for many operations.
The development of HD cameras, 3D visualisation, and the integration of real time advanced imaging capabilities such as intraoperative ultrasound, fluorescence imaging, and hyperspectral imaging, have enabled surgeons to visualise the operative field even better than the naked eye. These capabilities overcame the disadvantages due to the lack of palpation, even contributing to better results when performing open surgery with these image guided surgery capabilities.
Stapling technology enabled quick and safe anastomosis creation, driving forward gastrointestinal surgery such as morbid obesity enabling more patients to be operated, with shorter hospitalisations and a reduction in complications due to their comorbidities.
Advanced energy devices shifted simple clipping and suturing into faster and more reliable dissecting capabilities, as well as enabling meticulous lymph node dissection. This led to comparable oncologic resection capabilities to open surgery enabling oncologic patients to benefit from the advantages of MIS.
The introduction of robotic assisted surgery has shifted more procedures from open surgery to the MIS approach being performed by more surgeons with more patients benefiting from MIS. Pushing the envelope further, using robotic platforms, single incision surgery is more feasible, allowing for MIS to become even less invasive.
Medical device innovation is on a “fast-forward drive” driving MIS into a better future with less invasive procedures, a safer profile and improved patient outcomes. We as surgeons and surgical staff, must stay on top of these quickly shifting technologies – either as users or as critics. In order to continue to provide the best possible care, we must navigate the influx of technology offered to us, selecting those that are truly necessary, and positively impacting patient outcomes.
We invite you to join us at the 2022 EAES Winter meeting, where new technologies will be presented by experts in their fields. The meeting will start with presentations of technologies coming to the operating room in the near future, will continue to technologies on the horizon, and conclude with a frank and vibrant session about technologies used today- Do they really make a difference in patient outcome.
Chair EAES technology committee