Setting the Line between Major and Minor Surgical Procedures

Surgery is often viewed by many as any medical procedure that requires cutting open body parts and sewing them back up together using various tools. While that is somewhat true, not all procedures cut as deep to the bone but are still regarded as surgery in the medical field. Here we tackle the two different categories of surgery – major and minor procedures – and determine their similarities and differences. 

A surgical procedure is any form of invasive therapy that makes use of instrumental and manual techniques on a patient to provide treatment for a pathological condition such as an injury or a disease. They are also done to improve defects in desired body functions and to remove failing parts. Due to the various diseases and injuries that one can acquire, several surgical procedures have been developed in the medical field for their treatment. As mentioned, the two broadest classifications of surgery are the major and minor procedures. 

Procedures are defined either as major or minor depending on the depth of the invasive techniques needed to successfully perform them. If the procedure only requires incisions on the skin, connective tissues, or mucous membranes, then it is considered a minor surgical procedure. Examples of this category include treatments on the skin for hemorrhoids and tissue neurosis. This also includes invasive procedures for obtaining body specimens such as biopsy which is a technique for procuring body fluids or tissue samples using a needle. 

In the field of dentistry, tooth extractions and gum grafts are also considered as minor procedures. This is because the incisions needed to perform them are only on the external surface level of the mouth. Minor procedures are also known for needing only local anesthesia and only a  few personnel to perform. In most cases only one practitioner is needed. Since the procedure is done on the skin, the affected surface must be disinfected before the surgery proper. This is done to prevent contamination in the area of surgery. Aside from those mentioned, there are also other examples of minor procedures. 

On the other hand, major surgical procedures require more depth of incision into the body cavity. Here, internal organs are involved and more pathological expertise is needed to correctly perform them due to the sensitivity of the structures affected. Conditions that require major surgery include diseases that cause organ infections, injuries causing limb or joint destruction, and major corrections in defects of a body’s pathological structure. Major surgery is already required when the body is in dire need of repair and further delay can be fatal for the patient. The extensive study must be done first on a patient’s condition to determine if the major procedure is necessary along with the scope of the surgery to be performed.    

Due to its complexity, the entire procedure will need more dosage of anesthesia to be performed. In most cases, the patient is rendered unconscious to prevent movement. They also need a team of personnel, each with their own set of tasks, to complete the entire procedure. Vital signs are extensively monitored to ensure the patient’s safety while the procedure is ongoing. After completion of the procedure, the patient must still stay confined for a few more days to monitor his stability and check for any undesired effects of the surgery. 

The development of these procedures, whether minor or major, has made a significant impact in prolonging the lives of individuals when they are inflicted with disease or injury. Knowledge of the different surgical procedures available is important for us to better understand when they are needed depending on the medical condition we are experiencing.