How Does Laparoscopic Surgery Work?

The laparoscope has been one of the greatest advances in the field of surgery. This surgery uses a laparoscope, which is a thin fiber optic tube that has a micro video camera at its tip for recording images. These images are relayed through the laparoscope to a TV monitor.

This fiber optic tube is inserted through a small incision and is guided to the area of concern. Through the laparoscope, the surgeon can view damaged tissues as well as insert small surgical instruments and perform surgical procedures such as biopsies, removal of tumors, or examination of surrounding tissues.

Reasons For Laparoscopic Surgery

A laparoscopy surgery may be advised for assessing the following organs in the body:

  • Appendix
  • Gall bladder
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Small and large intestine
  • Spleen
  • Stomach
  • Pelvic and reproductive organs

Using a laparoscope, the surgeon can detect the following conditions:

  • Tumors
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Bleeding inside the abdomen
  • Infections
  • Cause for unexplained abdominal pain
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Liver disease
  • Effectiveness of certain therapies
  • Prognosis and the extent of spread of certain cancers
  • Blockages
  • Often required when other diagnostic tests such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI scans are not conclusive.

Risks Of Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is widely preferred to traditional surgery due to the number of advantages it offers over open surgery. However, laparoscopic surgery is associated with certain risks, which are described below:

  • Injury is the leading risk factor due to the placement of a trocar during surgery. Trocar is an instrument introduced at the beginning of surgery so that other instruments can be passed on to the target site. Injuries can occur in the intestine, abdominal wall, and even blood vessels. These injuries can also lead to infection, which can lead to peritonitis. The risk is higher in patients with a history of abdominal surgery.
  • Risk of damage to other organs during laparoscopy.
  • Inflammation of the abdominal wall.
  • Body fluids or blood may leak if there is a risk of puncture of wounds. These cases may require immediate surgery.
  • Electrodes used during this procedure could leak current into surrounding tissues causing electrical burns. To prevent this, active monitoring of electrodes during the procedure is a must.
  • Coagulation disorders are considered a contraindication for laparoscopic surgery.
  • Complications due to general anesthesia.
  • Blood clots may break lose and travel to the pelvis, legs, or lungs.
  • Many a times, not all the carbon dioxide is removed from the abdominal cavity during surgery. This forms an air pocket causing pressure on the diaphragm leading to difficulty in breathing.

After the procedure it is important to contact your healthcare provider, if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Stomach pain that increases over time
  • Fever with chills
  • Redness, swelling, or bleeding from the incision site
  • Consistent nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent cough or difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty or not able to urinate
  • Giddiness or lightheadedness

Advantages Of Laparoscopic Surgery

This surgery has a number of advantages in comparison to open surgery. Few of the advantages are listed below:

  • Lower risk of bleeding due to a smaller size of incision made during laparoscopic surgery. This also reduces the chances of blood transfusion required for compensating blood loss.
  • Smaller incision site is associated with lesser bleeding and pain post-surgery. Large incision surgeries need pain relief medication for a long time after surgery till the stitches heal. In keyhole surgery, the whole surgical wound healing is rapid.
  • A smaller scar occurs post-surgery due to smaller incisions. In traditional surgery, apart from a larger scar there is also a possibility of infection and chances of hernia, especially in obese individuals.
  • Reduced risk of infection to internal organs due to lesser exposure to contaminants. This automatically reduces post-surgery infection rates.
  • Lesser duration of hospital stay as healing is much quicker. Most patients are given same or next day discharge in laparoscopic surgery. Return to daily activities is much sooner than traditional surgery.

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