At Massachusetts General Hospital, minimally invasive surgery — also called laparoscopic surgery — is a standard of care and our preferred surgical approach to treat a wide range of conditions.

Using high-definition imaging technology and precision instruments, our surgeons work through a few tiny incisions to perform thousands of these procedures each year. This high-volume experience means better outcomes for patients and helps our surgeons lead new innovations in the field and integrate these techniques into patient care.

Compared with traditional (or "open") surgery, minimally invasive surgery generally involves:

  • A quicker recovery and return to normal activities
  • An earlier discharge, as many procedures are done on an outpatient basis
  • Dramatically reduced bleeding and postoperative pain
  • Fewer and/or smaller scars

Leaders in Minimally Invasive General and GI Surgery

Surgeons in the Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery are board-certified, Harvard Medical School-affiliated physicians. They are highly experienced in performing minimally invasive procedures ranging from complex procedures requiring no external incisions to treating cancers of the stomach and the esophagus in a completely minimally invasive manner.

Our doctors are leaders in their field nationally, including serving as presidents of several national societies, including the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, the American Pancreatic Association and the Society of University Surgeons.

Our Procedures

As part of our approach to your care, our surgeons will recommend, whenever possible, the least invasive and most effective method to treat your condition, factoring in your health history, lifestyle and goals for treatment. Our division performs a number of minimally invasive procedures, including:

  • Laparoscopy for staging pancreatic and gastric cancers, performed so that unnecessary surgery is prevented
  • Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy, in which the left side of the pancreas is removed to treat cystic and endocrine tumors
  • Laparoscopic liver resection, in which liver mass (benign or cancerous) is safely and efficiently removed
  • Laparoscopic Heller myotomy, in which the muscle at the lower end of the esophagus is cut precisely to relieve difficulty swallowing (achalasia)
  • Laparoscopic fundoplication, used to rebuild the valve between the stomach and esophagus to stop gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Endoscopic antireflux procedures (esophyx and medigus), performed to rebuild the valve between the stomach and esophagus to stop GERD
  • Laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair and laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair, used to repair hiatal hernias and paraesophageal hernias
  • Laparoscopic gastrectomy, in which a portion of the stomach is removed to treat gastrointestinal stromal (GIST) tumors and small cancers of the stomach
  • Laparoscopic surgery for obesity, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, lap band and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy
  • Laparoscopic adrenalectomy, removal of the adrenal gland to treat tumors of the adrenal gland
  • Laparoscopic splenectomy, performed to remove the spleen to treat idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) , a blood disorder, splenic masses or cysts
  • Laparoscopic colectomy and laparoscopic colon resection, the laparoscopic removal of part or all of the large intestine for benign conditions such as diverticulitis and large polyps, as well as colorectal cancers
  • Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEMS), a minimally invasive surgical approach to local excision of rectal tumors/cancer

Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship

The Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery offers a Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship designed to help fellows develop technical proficiency in advanced laparoscopic surgery and advanced gastrointestinal procedures.

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