What is laparoscopic surgery?

Traditional abdominal surgery uses a single large incision to accomplish a goal. In obstetrics and gynecology, for instance, removing a large uterus or cancer treatments have historically been performed with these open surgery methods, as some procedures can only be accomplished with a larger incision.

Modern technology has progressed, however, and now allows for better visualization with cameras. Laparoscopy allows the surgeon to use a small telescope and a camera to visualize the abdominal cavity through a one-centimeter (or less) incision. Instruments that can better mimic the human hand have been developed, and newer methods allow many surgeries previously requiring a prolonged recovery and more postoperative pain to be accomplished through smaller incisions with less pain and a fraction of the recovery time.

Most laparoscopic surgical procedures use one or more 8 to 12 millimeter (mm) incisions. Some surgeons feel that this method is the best for most procedures, but it usually requires more than one incision. Diverse instrumentation has been developed over many years, and most outpatient abdominal and gynecologic surgery can be accomplished with this method.

Laparoscopic surgery, also referred to as minimally invasive surgery, is a type of surgical procedure that uses a video camera and several thin instruments to gain access to the inside of the patient. The surgeon makes small incisions through which the camera and the instruments can be inserted.

The camera transmits an image of the organs inside the abdomen onto a television monitor, allowing the surgeon to see directly into the patient without the traditional large incision. With laparoscopic surgery, there is less post-operative discomfort since the incisions are smaller, quicker recovery times, shorter hospital stays and less scarring.

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