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ABOUT LAPAROSCOPIC SURGERY

What is Laparoscopic Surgery?

Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) is a surgical technique in which, instead of making large incisions on the abdomen, the surgeon makes small (typically 5-10 mm) nicks in the abdominal wall. Through these openings, specialized instruments and endoscope are introduced inside the patient’s body to examine and treat diseases of your internal organs.

When is laparoscopy used?

Laparoscopy can be used to help diagnose a wide range of conditions that develop inside the abdomen or pelvis. It can also be used to carry out surgical procedures, such as removing a damaged or diseased organ, or removing a tissue sample for further testing (biopsy).

Laparoscopy is most commonly used in:

  • Gastroenterology– the study and treatment of conditions affecting the digestive system
  • Urology – the study and treatment of conditions affecting the urinary system
  • Gynecology – the study and treatment of conditions affecting the female reproductive system

Your doctor may recommend laparoscopy to examine and treat the diseases of the following organs:

  • Esophagus (food pipe)
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Rectum
  • Abdominal wall (for hernias)
  • Liver
  • Gall Bladder
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Appendix

In addition to above, your doctor may recommend laparoscopy for certain special situations like

  • Taking biopsy from an abdominal mass or tumor
  • Draining fluid from the abdominal cavity to send to laboratory for diagnosis
  • Estimate the extent of liver disease
  • To know the effectiveness of certain treatments
  • To know the stage of progression of some abdominal cancers

How is laparoscopy carried out?

Laparoscopy is carried out under general anaesthetic, so you won't feel any pain during the procedure.
During laparoscopy, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions in the abdomen. These allow the surgeon to insert the laparoscope(Telescope), small surgical tools, and a tube used to pump CO2 gas into the abdomen. This makes it easier for the surgeon to look around and operate.
After the procedure, the gas is let out of your abdomen, the incisions are closed using stitches and a dressing is applied.
Although you can often go home on the same day but you may need to stay in hospital overnight as on need basis or type of surgery.

Advantages or Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery

There are a number of advantages to the patient with laparoscopic surgery versus an open procedure. These include:

  • Shorter duration of hospital stay, with most patients being able to leave on the same day
  • Less pain and discomfort following the operation
  • Reduction risk of bleeding
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Reduced risk of adhesions
  • Reduced risk of a blood clot in the legs or lungs
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less trauma to the patient.
  • Smaller and better skin scars.
  • Faster recovery and back to work
  • Better outcomes in certain types of cancers

What are the risks of laparoscopy?

As with every operative procedure, undergoing a laparoscopy carries some risks, however, the procedure is widely performed and the risks are relatively low.

Minor complications

Minor complications are estimated to occur in 1 or 2 out of every few hundred cases following laparoscopy. They include:

  • Infection
  • Minor bleeding and bruising around the incision
  • Feeling sick and vomiting

Serious but rare complications

Serious complications after laparoscopy are estimated to occur in 1 out of every 1,000 cases. They include:

  • Damage to an organ, such as your bowel or bladder
  • Damage to a major artery
  • Complications arising from the use of carbon dioxide during the procedure,
  • A serious allergic reaction to the general anaesthetic
  • A blood clot developing in a vein, usually in one of the legs (deep vein thrombosis or DVT), which can break off and block the blood flow in one of the blood vessels in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)

Further surgery is often required to treat many of these more serious complications.

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