What is laparoscopic surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, is a technique for performing surgery using special equipment. In the past, this technique was commonly used for gynecologic surgery. Over the last 10 years the use of this technique has expanded into intestinal surgery. In traditional “open” surgery a surgeon uses a single incision to enter into the abdomen. Laparoscopic surgery uses several 0.5-1cm incisions. Each incision is called a “port”. At each port a tubular instrument known as a trochar is inserted. Specialized instruments and a special camera known as a laparoscope are passed through the trochars during the procedure. At the beginning of the procedure, the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas to provide a working and viewing space for a surgeon. The laparoscope transmits images from the abdominal cavity to high-resolution video monitors in the operating room. During the operation a surgeon watches detailed images of the abdomen on display. This system allows a surgeon to perform the same operations as traditional surgery but with smaller incisions.
In certain situations a surgeon may choose to use a special type of port that is large enough to insert a hand. When a hand port is used the surgical technique is called “hand assisted” laparoscopy. The incision required for the hand port is larger than the other laparoscopic incisions, but is usually smaller than the incision required for traditional surgery.
Advantages of laparoscopic surgery
Compared to traditional open surgery, patients often experience less pain, a shorter recovery, and less scarring with laparoscopic surgery.