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The open approach to weight loss surgery involves an 8 to 10 inch incision to open the abdomen and perform the surgery in open view of the surgical team. The laparoscopic approach creates five or six small incisions (1/4 or 1/2 inches long) instead of the one larger incision. In the laparoscopic method, a small fiberoptic tube (the laparoscope), connected to a video camera, is inserted through the small abdominal incisions. This gives the surgeon a magnified view of the patient's internal organs on a television screen next to the operating table. The entire operation is performed inside the abdomen, after gas has been used to expand it, with the instruments inserted through the various small incisions.
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