Minimally invasive surgeries involve smaller incisions and shorter recovery times. Ultrasonography is a noninvasive evaluation tool with wide applicability in surgical settings. Learn more about three uses for ultrasound in minimally invasive procedures.
Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesiology (UGRA) has grown in popularity over the last decade. With UGRA, anesthesiologists use ultrasound to guide the anesthetic where it is needed.
Ultrasound guidance helps anesthesiologists avoid blood vessels and other structures. Targeting precision improves pain management and decreases complications after surgery. Ultrasound guidance also makes medical procedures more efficient, especially those that are complex.
Laparoscopic surgery is another minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasound. During laparoscopic surgery, the operator creates a small cut in the patient’s body and inserts the laparoscope, a slender tool with a small video camera and light on the end.
Laparoscopic surgeries include biopsies, tubal ligation, polyp removals, and small tumor removals. In this surgical application, specialized ultrasound transducers fit through the laparoscopic trocar. This newer use of ultrasonography gives surgeons a better view of anatomical structures as they perform procedures.
Finally, one of the most common uses for ultrasound is to improve vascular access. For various reasons, doctors must access central and peripheral veins and arteries, including the internal jugular, subclavian, and femoral veins.
Doctors use central venous catheters to:
- Administer medication
- Perform dialysis
- Perform plasmapheresis
- Create a conduit for inserting other devices
Central venous catheter insertion is a standard procedure for critically ill patients. Real-time ultrasound guidance reduces mechanical and infectious complications of central venous catheterization.
Ultrasound is a versatile tool for improving regional anesthesiology, laparoscopic surgery, and vascular access. As the recent addition of ultrasound in laparoscopic surgery shows, technological advancements will only continue to help medical professionals find new ways of applying this medical tool.
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