Aim: To determine trends in the scope of use of minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques in children as a predictor of future operative workload and operating theatre requirements.
Method: A retrospective review was conducted of all paediatric patients less than 16 years of age who underwent minimally invasive surgical procedures at Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand between 1996 and 2007.
Results: There were 1693 children who received 1826 MIS procedures during a period in which 11,893 operative procedures were performed. MI case-weights, an indirect measure of the financial burden and technical difficulty of the procedures, represented 29% of the workload of the unit overall. There was a rapid rise of the number of MIS procedures from 1996 to 2000, but since then the scope and volume has changed little.
Conclusion: Use of MIS in children increased rapidly until 2000 since which time it has remained relatively constant. Recent additional applications have involved a small number of rare low-volume and more complex procedures. These observations may assist in the planning of theatre allocation requirements for MIS in children.