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Clinical Specialties - Cancer

Surgical Approaches

Depending on the nature of your cancer, your condition may require surgery. If this is the case, your surgeon will talk to you about different approaches they can take to surgery and their impact on your recovery. Where possible, your surgeon may suggest a minimally invasive approach as these have been shown to reduce both pain and the length of recovery time.

Surgery is usually done one of three ways:

Open Surgery

As the name implies, open surgical procedures are done through a large incision. While this can be done safely and effectively, the larger incision can cause:

  • Longer hospital stays
  • Longer recovery
  • More pain
  • Larger scars
  • Higher risk of complications such as bleeding and infection


Your surgeon, however, will suggest the surgical approach that they believe is best for you based on you and your particular cancer. Everyone is unique, and there are times when an open procedure may be a safer and a more effective approach. Minimally invasive surgery can sometimes take longer to perform and, depending on the patients' health, an open approach could be more appropriate.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that uses several small cuts rather than one long incision in the skin to access the surgical area. The surgeon uses a tiny camera to view the area and small tools to perform the surgery. Benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Smaller incisions and scars
  • Shorter hospital stay and recovery
  • Lower risk of complications
  • Less pain and discomfort


Laparoscopic procedures are often done if the surgery requires more than one small incision.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery is also a type of minimally invasive procedure that uses small incisions. The difference is instead of the surgeon using their hands to manually control the camera and tools, they sit at a console and guide a number of robotic “arms” that provide greater dexterity than the human hand. High definition 3-D imaging also allows for a better view of the operation.

Robotic surgery procedures have the same benefits as laparoscopic surgery for the patient. It’s often used in small, difficult to navigate areas of the body such as prostate and colon and also in gynaecological procedures.

The San has one of the best and most affordable robotic surgical programs in the country and was the first private hospital in Australia to make robotic surgery more affordable for patients. It’s robotic surgical team is second-to-none and across each specialty where robotic surgery is available we have a senior, highly skilled and qualified expert to lead the robotic surgical team. For more information on our robotic surgical program, please click here.

What type of surgery is right for me?

Every patients' case is different and personalised to achieve the best individual result. While each of these types of surgery has its benefits, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor to decide what surgery is right for you.

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Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical Specialties and Services