Laparoscopy, or laparoscopic surgery, is a way of performing surgery known as “Minimally Invasive Surgery.” Laparoscopic surgery is performed on organs and structures of the abdominal cavity through small incisions. A camera, or “scope” is inserted through one of these small incisions so that the structures in the abdomen can be seen on a video monitor. Slim instruments are placed through other small incisions so that the surgical procedure can be carried out. Laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia.
Traditional, or “open” surgery is done through a longer incision. The operation is carried out directly with the surgeon’s hands and standard instruments. The advantages of laparoscopic surgery include less scarring, less post-operative pain, and quicker recovery.
We perform many different types of surgery with laparoscopy. Examples include gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy), appendectomy, hernia repair, removal of part of the colon (colectomy) or small intestine, surgery for acid-reflux disease (fundoplication), removal of adrenal glands, and removal of the spleen. There are other reasons for laparoscopy as well.
Your surgeon will evaluate your particular case to determine if laparoscopy is right for you. There may be situations where laparoscopy cannot be performed, and the surgery must be done with the traditional open technique. It is always possibile that a surgery begun with laparoscopy will require switching to an open technique, depending on what is found at the time of surgery.
As with all surgeries, there are risks of complications associated with laparoscopic surgery. These complications do not occur frequently, but you should be aware of their possibility. They include bleeding, infection, injury to organs or other structures, scar tissue formation, obstruction of the bowel, hernias, complications related to anesthesia, and others.
The physicians of Austin Surgeons have pioneered the use of laparoscopic surgery in Austin, performing some of the first procedures in the area. Please ask your surgeon if you have any questions about laparoscopy.
Dr. Mark Lindsey performing laparoscopy