Laparoscopic Surgery

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Laparoscopy is a type of surgery that uses smaller cuts than you might expect.

The process takes its name from the laparoscope, a slender tool that has a tiny video camera and light on the end. When a surgeon inserts it through a small cut and into your body, they can look at a video monitor and see what’s happening inside you. Without those tools, they’d have to make a much larger opening. Thanks to special instruments, your surgeon won’t have to reach into your body, either. That also means less cutting.

Have you heard people talk about “minimally invasive” surgery? Laparoscopic surgery is one kind. Doctors first used it for gallbladder surgery and gynecology operations. Then it came in play for the intestines, liver, and other organs.

How It’s Done Before this system came along, a surgeon who operated on his patient’s belly had to make a cut that was 6-to-12 inches long. That gave them enough room to see what they were doing and reach whatever they had to work on.

In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several small cuts.

Usually, each one is no more than a half-inch long. (That's why it's sometimes called keyhole surgery.) They insert a tube through each opening, and the camera and surgical instruments go through those. Then the surgeon does the operation.