What is laparoscopic surgery?



What is laparoscopic surgery?

What are the benefits of laparoscopic surgery?

What are the risks of laparoscopic surgery?

Questions to ask







What is laparoscopic surgery?

Traditionally most surgery has been performed through large incisions made through the abdominal wall, either horizontally above the pubic hair line or vertically - from pubic hair line to belly button/ umbilicus.

"Open" surgery requires usually some 3-5 days hospital admission, and 6 weeks of very restricted activity / time off work

Over the last 20-30 years the use of laparoscopy has steadily increased, initially for simple diagnostic investigation, but more recently for increasingly complex surgeries. This has been enabled by improved technologies / imaging / equipment, and surgical techniques

Laparoscopic surgery is almost always performed under general anaesthetic (ie completely asleep).

A "laparoscope" is a long , thin (5-10mm) "scope" that is inserted into the abdomen through a 5-10mm incision in the base of the umbilicus/ belly button to allow a view of the pelvis and pelvic organs. It is attached to a TV monitor that allows the surgeon, the assistant, and the theatre staff to see into the pelvis, and allows the surgeon to guide instruments around.

Depending on what procedure is being performed another one to three 5mm incisions are made across the pubic hair line to insert further instruments with which to move things around for better views, or to actually perform surgery.

Some gas, usually carbon dioxide - CO2, is "insufflated" into the abdominal cavity to provide space inside the abdomen and pelvis to see and move. This gas is released at the completion of the case but may sometimes cause a bloated feeling or discomfort for a few hours after. CO2 is chosen as it is very safe, and actually dissolves / resorbs across the internal membranes and into the blood stream quite quickly - from where it eventually is excreted into the lungs and gradually released from the body with normal breathing.

What are the benefits of laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is often called "keyhole" surgery, or minimally invasive surgery.

Benefits include:

For surgeons the laparoscope allows enhanced views, due to magnified images at close range to the area being operated on.

What are the risks of laparoscopic surgery?

Questions to ask: