Surgery at its most basic level consists of cutting through body tissues, treating a problem, and sewing up the wound. However, the development of surgical techniques using new technology, such as microsurgery and laser treatment, has enabled more complex operations to be performed with increasing precision.
Open surgery, in which internal body structures are accessed through large incisions, is the most common type of surgery and is discussed in the opening article. However, an increasing number of operations are now performed using endoscopic surgery, which is discussed next. Endoscopic surgery requires only a small incision or none at all. Further articles cover other specialized surgical techniques, including microsurgery and laser treatment, both of which are used in plastic surgery to reconstruct or repair tissues. Microsurgery can be performed on tiny structures, such as the nerves. Laser treatment has many uses, such as removing birthmarks and repairing delicate parts of the eye. The final article discusses transplant surgery, which enables diseased and failing body parts to be replaced with healthy ones.
What happens before, during, and after surgery is covered elsewhere (see Having an operation).
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.