Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery technique available to diagnose and treat conditions or injuries in the abdomen and pelvis. Also known as a keyhole surgery, it uses specialized tools and cameras that provide magnified views on high definition monitors.
Because of these enhanced views and specialized surgical tools only a small incision is used. The laparoscope, a thin, lighted tube with a camera, allows the surgeon to see inside a patient’s abdomen or pelvis. The surgeon uses special tools to perform the surgery without reaching into the body.
Laparoscopy is a good fit for most
Most surgeries are trending toward this minimally invasive option. It creates less trauma to the abdominal wall and smaller scars, which decreases the risk of bleeding and wound infections. Patients often have faster recovery time. They experience less pain and have a decreased need for pain medications as they heal.
However, existing conditions like heart or lung issues may exclude some patients from being a good candidate. They may not be able to tolerate the surgery. Another challenge can be prior scar tissue. This tissue build up makes it difficult to maneuver the instruments. “We are seeing this become less of a barrier with advanced technology,” said Dr. Kari Paulson, general surgeon with Marshfield Clinic Health System.
You’ll see similar complication risks with laparoscopy and open surgery. Common risks include bleeding from the incision and injury to the organs in the abdomen. During recovery, contact your physician if you have fever or chills, redness, swelling or bleeding, pain that doesn’t get better over time or vomiting and trouble urinating.
Unique to laparoscopy, patients may feel pain in either shoulder due to the gas used to inflate the abdomen for better visualization. This pain usually goes away in one to two days.
Advanced technology increases surgical precision
More procedures can use robot-assisted technology. Robotic surgery isn’t what you might have seen from science fiction movies. While using this advanced technology, the surgeon is still performing the surgery. They are simply using these specialized tools. “We have different advantages such as wristed instruments and enhanced visualization during the procedure using robotic technology,” Paulson said. “These advances allow us to expand on the laparoscopic skills that we already have and to do even more complex surgeries.”
It’s allows for easier access to parts of the body that were typically hard to do with straight stick laparoscopic technology. It helps with advanced closures and allows surgeons to do even more inside the patient than they would before. “So operations that were once considered really too difficult for minimally invasive methods can now be done robotically or robot-assisted,” Paulson said.
Another surgery advancement is fluorescence or near infrared technology. Surgeons inject a fluorescence substance and then use different wavelengths of light to see deeper into the body than they could using white light. “This helps with organ identification, injury prevention and identifying anatomy differences in people.” Paulson said.
There are many options for minimally invasive surgery. Talk with your surgeon for what treatment plan is best for you.