Minimally Invasive Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital

With access to advanced technology, surgeons at Newton-Wellesley Hospital are able to perform a wide variety of procedures through an incision that requires only a stitch or two to close. Minimally invasive surgery (also known as laparoscopic surgery) is completed through small incisions using specialized techniques, small cameras with fiber-optic lighting (called laparoscopes) and highdefinition monitors.


Less Pain, Quicker Recovery
Surgeons using minimally invasive techniques can often avoid having to cut through muscles to complete the procedure, which leads to less tissue damage and quicker recovery for patients. Conventional open surgery requires a longer incision that usually has to be made through muscle, which needs a significant time to heal after surgery. While minimally invasive surgery is commonly used for gallbladder and appendix removal, surgeons trained in advanced minimally invasive surgery are able to provide treatment for more complicated procedures such as reflux surgery, gynecologic surgery, colon surgery, gastric bypass (weight loss surgery) and hernia repair.

During a minimally invasive abdominal procedure, surgeons insert a laparoscope – a long tube with a camera and light attached – into the patient through a small incision. The image obtained by the camera is sent to a high-definition monitor viewed by the surgeon during the operation. The surgeon also makes other small incisions to insert whatever tools are necessary to complete the procedure. The number and size of the incisions depend on the operation. Sheila Partridge, MD, Medical Director, Center for Weight Loss Surgery, explains that for procedures such as diagnostic tests where the laparoscope is used only to look around, a small incision (1/3 of an inch) may be all that is needed. If larger instruments are needed to complete the surgery or if more substantial organs are removed, a longer incision (up to 3/4 of an inch) may be needed.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery
Surgeons at the Center for General and Weight Loss Surgery use a minimally invasive technique to perform gastric bypass surgery. The Center primarily offers the “Gold Standard” – Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery – a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure that bypasses the majority of the stomach and first portion of the small intestine. More detailed information about this surgical procedure is available at

“Minimally invasive surgery has many benefits for our patients,” says Dr. Partridge. “Patients spend less time in the hospital, are able to recover faster and with less pain, have lower risk of hernias and less scarring both inside the abdomen and on the skin. Surgeons are able to operate with a more precise manner because they have better visualization of the internal organs.”

Minimally invasive procedures have a high accuracy rate because surgeons use high-definition video equipment and specialized tools to provide an efficient and safe operation.

For patients, minimally invasive surgery has many benefits including:

  • Less blood loss
  • Reduced post-operative pain and discomfort
  • Fewer infections
  • Faster recovery time
  • Less risk of hernia
  • Less intra abdominal scar tissue

Availability of Minimally Invasive Procedures
“Minimally invasive options are available across all surgical disciplines at Newton-Wellesley Hospital,” says Fred Millham, MD, Chair of Surgery at Newton-Wellesley. “As surgical technology continues to advance, we are able to offer these minimally invasive procedures to our patients here at the Hospital – in a convenient location that offers high-quality care. These surgical options have many benefits for our patients including decreased pain and shorter recovery time.”

At Newton-Wellesley, minimally invasive surgical procedures are performed both on an inpatient and outpatient basis depending on the procedure. Minimally invasive techniques are now used for many conditions – from kidney stones to varicose veins, carpal tunnel and appendicitis. These advances in technology are allowing surgeons to offer this option to patients.

“We are working to coordinate all the surgical disciplines and make them aware of the new technology that we have available,” says Dr. Millham. “Our goal is to make sure we are providing the highest quality of care on the cutting-edge of the newest equipment and techniques available.”

There are a broad range of minimally invasive surgery types available. Newton-Wellesley offers minimally invasive procedures for many different conditions from a simple hernia operation to a more complex gastric bypass procedure. According to Dr. Millham, 99 percent of patients who come to the Hospital for weight loss surgery are candidates for a minimally invasive procedure.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in the surgical field," says Dr. Millham. "As technology continues to evolve, we are able to offer more minimally invasive procedures to our patients. I am pleased that Newton-Wellesley offers both the highest quality care as well as focuses on the latest tools and technologies to provide our patients with the very best care."

For more information about Newton-Wellesley Hospital, call CareFinder at 1-866-NWH-DOCS (694-3627) or visit our website at

Departments Offering Minimally Invasive Procedures

Newton-Wellesley Hospital offers various minimally invasive surgical procedures. The following centers and services provide these options for patients:

Devices used during surgery are named for the body areas where the procedure is being performed:

  • General surgical specialties and gynecological surgeons use the laparoscope to see in the abdominal cavity.
  • Thoracic surgeons access the chest cavity with a throacoscope.
  • Urologists visualize the bladder and urethra with a cystoscope.
  • Orthopedic surgeons use an arthroscope to see into joint spaces.

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