What is laparoscopic surgery ?
Laparoscopic surgery also referred to as minimally invasive surgery describes the performance of surgical procedures with the assistance of a video camera and several thin instruments. During the surgical procedure, small incisions of up to half an inch are made and plastic tubes called ports are placed through these incisions. The camera and the instruments are then introduced through the ports which allow access to the inside of the patient.
The camera transmits an image of the organs inside the abdomen onto a television monitor. The surgeon is not able to see directly into the patient without the traditional large incision. The video camera becomes a surgeon’s eyes in laparoscopy surgery, since the surgeon uses the image from the video camera positioned inside the patient’s body to perform the procedure.
Benefits of minimally invasive or laparoscopic procedures are:
less post operative discomfort since the incisions are much smaller
quicker recovery times
shorter hospital stays
earlier return to full activities
much smaller scars
there may be less internal scarring when the procedures are performed in a minimally invasive fashion compared to standard open surgery.
What are the advantages of laparoscopic surgery?
Compared to traditional open surgery, patients often experience less pain, a shorter recovery, and less scarring with laparoscopic surgery.
What kinds of operations can be performed using laparoscopic surgery?
Most intestinal surgeries can be performed using the laparoscopic technique. These include surgery for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, cancer, rectal prolapse and severe constipation.
In the past there had been concern raised about the safety of laparoscopic surgery for cancer operations. Recently several studies involving hundreds of patients have shown that laparoscopic surgery is safe for certain colorectal cancers.
How safe is laparoscopic surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery is as safe as traditional open surgery. At the beginning of a laparoscopic operation the laparoscope is inserted through a small incision near the belly button (umbilicus). The surgeon initially inspects the abdomen to determine whether laparoscopic surgery may be safely performed. If there is a large amount of inflammation or if the surgeon encounters other factors that prevent a clear view of the structures the surgeon may need to make a larger incision in order to complete the operation safely.
Any intestinal surgery is associated with certain risks such as complications related anesthesia and bleeding or infectious complications. The risk of any operation is determined in part by the nature of the specific operation. An individual’s general heath and other medical conditions are also factors that affect the risk of any operation. You should discuss with your surgeon your individual risk for any operation.