Noninvasive surgery is defined as any surgical procedure that does not require penetration into the body either through an incision, cut, or piercing through the skin or by entering into a body cavity. This should not be confused with minimally invasive surgery, which can involve small incisions and instruments entering the body. Surgery that is noninvasive is generally limited in scope.
Examples of commonly preformed noninvasive surgery are laser surgery and dermatological procedures. Laser surgery is a surgical procedure in which a laser light beam is used to heat cells or tissue with the intent of manipulating or bursting them. Noninvasive laser surgery can be preformed to shrink tumors; remove moles, warts, and other skin blemishes; remove hair; and reduce wrinkles in the skin. LASIK eye surgery is another form of non-invasive surgery that uses a laser to reshape the cornea to correct vision problems. Lasers are also frequently used in combination with invasive surgical procedures as a way to seal blood vessels and minimize blood loss.
Though this type of surgery is performed to correct small problems rather than life-threatening issues and is typically an elective procedure, it is not risk free. Generally, the surgery is performed either with local anesthesia or no anesthesia, but some procedures may require general anesthesia, which always poses a risk. In most cases, infection is the biggest risk of any operation, but it is minimal compared to other surgical procedures.
Noninvasive surgery, though minor, should always be performed in a sterile environment. Typically, such a procedure can be performed in a physician's office, rather than at a hospital. Because this type of surgery is common in dermatology, most offices are equipped to perform common procedures. In the case of LASIK eye surgery, the doctor usually has a designated facility. Even though the skin is not broken and no body cavity is entered, this surgery still requires the use of preventative measures, such as sterile gloves and instruments, to help prevent the risk of infection afterwards.