Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical technique in which the surgeon uses a series of small incisions in the patient to insert a camera to view the surgical field, along with the necessary tools for the surgical procedure. This type of surgery is radically different from traditional open surgery, and it has become a preferred surgical technique in many situations, because the healing time for laparoscopic surgery is much shorter than that for open surgery, which makes it better for patients.
In laparoscopic surgery, the doctor uses a specialized camera called a laparoscope. The camera and an attached light are inserted through a small incision to view the surgical site, with a monitor displaying a magnified version of the site for the surgeon to use as a reference during the surgical procedure. Once the camera is in place, other incisions can be made to introduce surgical tools which will be used to manipulate the site.
To make the surgical field easier to see, the area may be inflated with carbon dioxide gas, making more room for the surgeon to maneuver while clearing the surgical field for better visibility. After the surgery is complete, the gas will be vented, and the incisions will be sewn shut.
From the point of view of a surgeon, performing laparoscopic surgery can be tricky, but it has some definite advantages. The reduced healing time increases patient comfort, and decreases the risk of infection and the onset of blood clots. Getting patients mobile as quickly as possible after surgery is a major goal for many surgeons, and laparoscopic surgery helps to accomplish this. This surgical technique also reduces the need to cut through muscle to reach surgical sites, keeping patients in better condition so that they feel more comfortable after surgery.
For patients, the shorter healing time involved in a laparoscopic procedure is definitely an advantage, reducing discomfort, hospital stays, and expenses. The minimal scarring may also be appreciated. In an abdominal procedure, for example, four to six small incisions might be made, instead of a single long incision going all the way across the abdomen. The elimination of disfiguring scars is also accompanied with a reduction in cuts of muscle and fascia to reach surgical sites, reducing pain deep inside the surgical site.
This surgical technique is not always an option for all surgeries, but it is certainly worth discussing with a surgeon. If laparoscopy is appropriate for a patient, a surgeon can provide counseling about the procedure and a referral if necessary.