South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Until recently minimally invasive surgery was not performed in neonates. This was because of their small size and distinct physiological characteristics. Since the introduction of fine laparoscopic instruments, improvements in the surgical technique and a better understanding of the unique anaesthetic requirements of laparoscopy, more complex operations have been performed. While certain operations such as laparoscopic pyloromyotomy have become routine in many centres, others require significant infrastructure and experience. Advantages of minimally invasive surgery seen in older children and adults, such as shortened hospital stay and less pain, also apply to neonates. There is no doubt that minimally invasive surgery for neonates is still in its infancy. For many neonatal conditions requiring surgery, the benefits of minimally invasive surgery have yet to be established with well-designed studies.