Laparoscopy is a type of surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to access the inside of the abdomen (tummy) and pelvis without having to make large incisions in the skin.
This procedure is also known as Keyhole Surgery or Minimally Invasive Surgery.
Large incisions can be avoided during laparoscopy because the surgeon uses an instrument called a laparoscope.
This is a small tube that has a light source and a camera, which relays images of the inside of the abdomen or pelvis to a television monitor.
The advantages of this technique over traditional open surgery include:
- a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time
- 2D echo with Colour Doppler
- Less pain and bleeding after the operation
- Reduced scarring
When laparoscopy is 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:
- Gynaecology – the study and treatment of conditions affecting the female reproductive system
- Gastroenterology – the study and treatment of conditions affecting the digestive system
- Urology – the study and treatment of conditions affecting the urinary system
How laparoscopy is carried out
Laparoscopy is carried out under general anaesthesia, 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, small surgical tools, and a tube used to pump 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.
You can often go home on the same day of your laparoscopy, although you may need to stay in hospital overnight.
Scope of Laparoscopy
Over the last 3 decades or so, new techniques have been invented, with newer instruments, thus increasing the scope of Laparoscopic surgery, to the point where it is possible to do almost every single abdominal surgery by laparoscopic methods.
Commonest operations performed Laparoscopically are:
- Lap Appendicectomy (removal of inflamed appendix)
- Lap Cholecystectomy (removal of Gall bladder)
- Lap Hysterectomy (removal of Uterus)
- Sleeve Gastrectomy (done for extremely obese patients, a large portion of the stomach is removed)
- Lap Donor Nephrectomy (removal of the donor kidney, prior to a kidney transplant)
Safety aspects of Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy has been practiced for over 3 decades now, and it is extremely safe.