The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Non-invasive (medical)

The term non-invasive in Medicine has two meanings:

  • A medical procedure which does not penetrates or breaks the skin or a body cavity, i.e., it doesn't require an (invasive) incision into the body or the removal of biological tissue.
  • An abnormal tissue growth, such as a neoplasm or tumor, that doesn't spread (invades) to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Physicians have been using for centuries, of course, many simple non-invasive methods based on physical parameters in order to assess body function in health and disease, such as pulse-taking, the auscultation of heart sounds and lung sounds (using the stethoscope), body temperature measurement (using thermometers), external percussion and palpation, vascular pressure measurement (using the sphygmomanometer), change in body volumes (using the plethysmograph) and many others.

However, since the discovery of the first modern non-invasive techniques based on physical methods, electrocardiography and x-rays, at the end of the 19th century, medical technology has advanced more and more towards non-invasive methods for diagnosis and therapy, such as:

Diagnostic images

Computed tomography machine
Computed tomography machine

Diagnostic signals

Electrocardiographic tracing
Electrocardiographic tracing


In some cases, non-invasive methods will not work for the intended purpose, so medical technology has developed minimally-invasive methods, such as hypodermic injection (using the syringe), endoscopy, percutaneous surgery, laparoscopic surgery, coronary catheterization, angioplasty, stereotactic surgery and many others.

The benefits for the patient are self-evident.

Last updated: 02-10-2005 20:23:19
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55