Minimal Access Surgery

Smaller Incisions, Less Pain and Scarring

The Packard Center for Minimal Access Surgery is a leader in developing and performing minimal access procedures on children.

Traditionally, surgery required an incision large enough to allow the surgeon to place hands and instruments inside the patient. Today, some minimal access methods require only a keyhole-sized incision and leave behind a very small scar. Some surgical procedures leave no scar at all.

When compared to conventional (open) surgery, minimal access procedures:

  • Are equally effective
  • Typically require shorter hospital stays
  • Reduce postoperative pain
  • Shorten recovery time
  • Leave smaller, less noticeable scars. In some cases, surgery is done without leaving any visible scars.
  • Take about the same amount of operating room time
  • Cost no more

To perform minimal access surgery, our pediatric general surgery team uses specially designed, tiny instruments that are inserted into the patient through small, bandage-sized incisions. The surgeon views the magnified surgical area on a computer monitor.

Technology and Training

The Ford Family Surgery Center is a state-of-the-art surgical facility designed specifically for children. Learn more about the Center and how to prepare for your child's surgery. Our team’s innovations in pediatric minimal access surgery extend outside our work in the operating room. Our location on the Stanford University campus – in the heart of Silicon Valley – allows us to develop new instruments and train future surgeons to use the latest techniques.

  • State-of-the-art technology throughout the operating room. As of its December 2008 opening, the Ford Family Surgery Center is the only children’s hospital surgical facility on the West Coast whose entire surgical suite features the latest technology.
  • Surgical robotics. Our surgical team uses the DaVinci surgery robot, a computer-assisted device that improves dexterity of minimal access tools and provides three-dimensional views of the body’s interior.
  • Developing new instruments. Sanjeev Dutta, MD, MA, and his colleagues founded MISTRAL, a nonprofit research collaboration between Stanford University and SRI International to develop improved pediatric surgical tools.
  • Training the surgeons of tomorrow. Surgical residents at the Stanford University School of Medicine are able to build their minimal-access skills at the Goodman Simulation Center before they operate on real patients.