Laparoscopic or "minimally invasive" surgery is a specialized technique for performing surgery. In the past, this technique was commonly used for gynecologic surgery and for gall bladder surgery. Over the last 10 years the use of this technique has expanded into intestinal surgery. In traditional “open” surgery the surgeon uses a single incision to enter into the abdomen. Laparoscopic surgery uses several 0.5-1cm incisions. Each incision is called a "port". At each port a tubular instrument known as a trochar is inserted. Specialized instruments and a special camera known as a laparoscope are passed through the trochars during the procedure. At the beginning of the procedure, the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas to provide a working and viewing space for the surgeon. The laparoscope transmits images from the abdominal cavity to high-resolution video monitors in the operating room. During the operation the surgeon watches detailed images of the abdomen on the monitor. This system allows the surgeon to perform the same operations as traditional surgery but with smaller incisions.
In certain situations a surgeon may choose to use a special type of port that is large enough to insert a hand. When a hand port is used the surgical technique is called “hand assisted” laparoscopy. The incision required for the hand port is larger than the other laparoscopic incisions, but is usually smaller than the incision required for traditional surgery.
Surgery, whether elective or required, is done for a multitude of reasons. A patient may have surgery to:
Depending on the diagnosis, a patient has several surgery options:
Optional or elective surgery
A procedure you choose to have, which may not necessarily be essential to continue a good quality of life. An example would be to have an unsightly mole or wart removed.
A procedure which needs to be done to ensure quality of life in the future. An example would be having kidney stones removed if other forms of medication and treatments are not working. Required surgery, unlike emergency surgery, does not necessarily have to be done immediately.
Urgent or emergency surgery
This type of surgery is done in reaction to an urgent medical condition, such as acute appendicitis.