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Difference Between Major and Minor Surgery

Posted by Ann V. On 2016 Jun 6th

Difference Between Major and Minor Surgery

Often people have confusion about the differences between minor and major surgeries. Continue to learn about the pints of differentiation between both forms.

Minor Surgery

A minor surgery is any procedure that neither penetrates a body cavity, nor encourages permanent impairment of any bodily functions. Procedures like superficial vascular cut down, endoscopy, laparoscopy, implanting pumps in subcutaneous tissue, etc., are minor surgeries. However, these surgeries demand clean and sterile surgery space, tools and techniques. Also, there is no ban against multiple minor survival procedures. It requires good professional judgment to limit the number of minor surgical procedures performed on any individual. It may possess great risks.

Any invasive operative practice in which only skin or the mucus membranes and connective tissue eviscerated falls under the category of minor surgery. Procedures like tooth extractions, gingival grafts, etc., in which the surgical field cannot be effectively disinfected are usually considered minor. Another example can be the biopsy, which is an invasive operative process done to procure the tissue samples or body fluids using a needle for further examination.

Minor surgeries may be carried out in a laboratory setting using suitable aseptic techniques, which includes a clean working space, preparation and sterilization of the surgical site including surgical scrub of the skin, clipping of the hair, covering of the surgical site with sterile drapes, mask by the surgeon and any assistants working in the surgical field.

Major Surgery

Any surgical procedure that penetrates and exposes a body cavity or any intervention that has the potential for encouraging permanent anatomic or physiologic impairment, or any procedure related to orthopedics or extensive tissue dissection or transection can be classified as major surgery.

Major surgery for non-human primates must be performed in dedicated amenities that are specifically designed, functioned, and maintained for that purpose only. Cold-blooded vertebrate surgeries should be performed in a clean room or laboratory, that too aseptically.

Major surgery is any invasive operation in which a more extensive resection is performed. The procedure may include entering a body cavity, removing of organs, or altering of the normal anatomy. In general, any surgery is categorized as major if a mesenchymal barrier is opened.

All major surgical techniques must use appropriate surgical procedures and must be conducted in facilities intended for survival surgery only. These facilities should be designed and maintained in a way to ensure a level of sanitation suitable for uninfected and sterile surgery. 

The operation room or theater should contain all the equipment and supplies required to support the procedure being carried out. In addition, a separate area, other than the surgery room must be provided for preparing the individual for surgery. An area equipped with surgical scrub sinks should also be apart from the operating room. Yet another surgical-support space should be provided for storing instruments and sterile supplies and for washing and sterilizing instruments. All these requirements are a must to carry out a harmless and safe major surgery.

For surgical procedures that do not clearly fall in both these categories, the chance for significant unintended microbial contamination should be a primary consideration. Usually, the classification of major will be applied only to procedures in which the individual is expected to survive longer. Or else, techniques applicable to minor surgical procedures may be used.

Moreover, a procedure previously classified as minor will be altered to major if microbial contamination proves to be a significant problem.