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Developing minimally invasive surgery in companion animals
  1. Philipp Mayhew, BVM&S, MRCVS, DACVS
  1. School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Tupper Hall, Office 1418, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  1. e-mail: philmayhew{at}

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THE modern age of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in human medicine was born in the late 1980s and early 1990s when procedures such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy were developed and subsequently taught to general surgeons in practice. This initiated a sea change in the way many abdominal procedures were approached in people. Currently, somewhere in the region of 75 per cent of all cholecystectomies in people are performed in a minimally invasive fashion and many other procedures, that have been shown to lend themselves well to a minimally invasive approach, have followed suit. These include bariatric, urogenital and gynaecological procedures and hernia repair to name but a few.

In veterinary medicine, the same paradigm shift to minimally invasive soft tissue surgery has not occurred to date. In people, a strong patient-led drive for improved cosmesis and a recognition that MIS procedures are in many cases associated with lower morbidity, coupled with certain economic pressures are probably the most important factors behind the rising popularity of MIS. In veterinary patients, the limited availability of MIS training and equipment, the financial limitations on the purchase of expensive equipment by practitioners, and the sometimes limited willingness of owners …

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