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Minimally Invasive Surgery

The Penn Vet Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery is committed to excellent patient care through clinical expertise, research and education.

Penn Vet's Minimally Invasive Surgery SuitePenn Vet's Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery not only has the most sophisticated operating room in the region, we also utilize the most cutting-edge surgical equipment.

We have the region's most experienced minimally invasive surgeons who have performed more minimally invasive procedures than many other hospital teams in the nation. 

Our surgical team applies groundbreaking techniques and utilizes the most advanced technology for prophylactic, diagnostic, and therapeutic surgical procedures. We are at the forefront in redefining how surgery is performed in companion animals.

The benefits of minimally invasive surgery for your pet include:

    • Small incisions 
    • Quick recovery time 
    •  Less pain
    •  Less scarring
    •  Low risk of infection
    •  Reduced blood loss
    •  Low risk of infection
 

    Surgeons at Penn Vet have mastered these techniques and made minimally invasive surgery the preferred surgical approach for many of the procedures that your companion animal may require. Our surgeons are on the forefront of medicine, continually advancing minimally invasive surgery to the next level by offering companion animals a better alternative to common surgical procedures.

    • Ryan Hospital, surgeryExperience. Penn Vet surgeons have been leaders in the field of minimally invasive surgery for many years. We perform more minimally invasive procedure than any other hospital in the northeast. Our team has been instrumental in defining the role of minimally invasive surgery in veterinary medicine. Yearly, we perform hundreds of procedures safely and efficiently for various procedures including a simple spay, to the most complex heart and lung surgeries.

    • Able to do What Other Centers Can't. Our team of experts has long-term experience in complex cases to offer minimally invasive surgery to pets that normally would not be considered candidates at other specialty veterinary hospitals around the country. If surgery is found to be an appropriate option for your pet, we likely can offer a minimally invasive approach to most pets, even when other veterinary surgical specialists may tell you that a minimally approach is not possible.

    • Cutting Edge Treatment. Penn Vet is a pioneer in utilizing single port minimally invasive surgery for animals. Our state of the art single port equipment provides a less invasive, more precise approach to surgery that is not offered commonly in the northeast or even nationally. Complex and basic surgeries can be performed through small incisions. As a result, pets experience a shorter hospital stay, less pain and scarring, are at less risk of wound infections, and return to normal activities more quickly when compared to traditional surgeries.

    • Expertise. Penn Vet surgeons are on the forefront for developing and mastering many surgical procedures, and have pioneered a number of advancements in laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery used for today's pets.

    • Team approach. Penn Vet's integrated teams of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals work together with a focus on continually improving your pet's care and safety.

    • Advanced Training. All of the surgeons at Penn Vets center for minimally invasive surgery have had extensive training in minimally invasive surgery. Due to Penn Vet's close affiliation with Penn Medicine, the head of our minimally invasive surgery team has had advanced training by human minimally invasive specialists and has successfully completed the same training FLS program that is required for human minimally invasive specialists.

    The following procedures can be performed minimally invasively for those patients who are suitable candidates:

    Ryan Hospital, surgeryAbdomen:

      • Spay
      • Castration (cryptorchid)
      • Gastropexy (Bloat/GDV Prevention)
      • Bladder Stone Removal
      • Urethral Stone Removal
      • Intestinal Biopsy
      • Liver Biopsy
      • Removal of Spleen
      • Removal of Adrenal Gland
      • Hernia Repair
      • Gallbladder Surgery
      • Cancer surgery for the stomach, gallbladder, Liver and pancreas
      • Removal of Kidney

    Chest:

      • Heart Surgery
      • Lung Surgery
      • Removal of Heart Pericardium
      • Removal of Lung for Cancer
      • Lymph-node biopsy and Removal
      • Chylothorax
      • Pyothorax Lavage
      • Thymoma Removal

    What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

    Also known as laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, or "keyhole" surgery, minimally invasive surgery is still considered a pioneering approach that reduces post-surgery recovery time, scarring, pain and overall risk. Innovative technology and physician expertise are the hallmarks of successful programs in minimally invasive surgery. Our surgeons have extensive training in the use of sophisticated surgical techniques employing tiny pencil-size cameras and instruments small enough to be inserted through incisions that are in less than a half-inch in length.

    Is Minimally Invasive Surgery Right for your pet?

    Not all pets and not all procedures qualify for minimally invasive approaches. However, if your veterinarian determines that you pet is a good candidate it is worth pursuing the many benefits:

    • Procedures are often done on an outpatient basis or involve just an overnight stay
    • Less pain medication is required
    • Less risk of infection
    • Fewer complications
    • Smaller (hardly visible) scars
    • Faster recovery


    The minimally invasive clinical team comprises board-certified faculty/clinicians, residents, interns, as well as board-certified technicians and nurses.

    Faculty/Clinicians
      Name Title Area(s) of Specialty
    Kim Agnello, Penn Vet, arthroscopy, orthopedics, Ryan Hospital Kimberly Agnello, DVM, DACVS
    • Assistant Professor, Small Animal Surgery
    • Orthopedic Surgery
    • Soft Tissue Surgery
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery
    Lillian Aronson, VMD, Surgery, Penn Vet  Lillian Aronson, VMD, DACVS
    • Professor, Surgery
    • Microvascular Surgery
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery
    • Protosystemic Shunts
    • Renal Transplantation
    • Soft Tissue Surgery, Urinary Tract Surgery/Endourology
     Dr. Cara Blake, Penn Vet Cara Blake, DVM
    • Lecturer, Small Animal Surgery
    • Orthopedic Surgery
    • Soft Tissue Surgery
    Dana Clarke, VMD, Penn Vet, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Interventional Radiology Dana Clarke, VMD, DACVECC
    • Lecturer, Minimally Invasive Surgery and Endourology
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery
    • Interventional Radiology
    • Urinary Tract Surgery/Endourology 
    Dr. David Holt, Penn Vet, Surgery  David Holt, BVSC, DACVS
    • Professor, Surgery
    • Section Chief, Surgery
    • Portosystemic shunts
    • Respiratory surgery
    • Surgical oncology
    Jeffrey Runge, Penn Vet, Minimally Invasive Surgery Jeffrey Runge, DVM, DACVS
    • Assistant Professor, Surgery
    • Head, Minimally Invasive Surgery 
    • Minimally invasive surgery
    Susan Volk, VMD, Penn Vet surgery Susan Volk, VMD, PhD, DACVS
    Assistant Professor, Surgery
    • Soft Tissue Surgery
    • Wound Healing
    • Regenerative Medicine
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery