As is the case with any investment of time and money, it’s essential to understand exactly what you’re “buying” when you make a medical decision for yourself or someone in your family. In this case, the subject is laparoscopic surgery, sometimes referred to as “keyhole” surgery. Perhaps the major benefit that you get with this choice is the fact that the procedure is minimally invasive.
For example, a more traditional surgical procedure makes a large incision in the abdomen, for example. This exposes tissues and structures inside the body so that they can be examined, repaired, or removed. With laparoscopic surgery, a small incision is made, generally less than an inch in length (thus the name “keyhole). This is combined with expansion of the abdomen with CO2 so that the surgeon can obtain a better view of the interior of the area.
The next step in the surgical procedure involves the insertion of a laparoscope through the incision to actually give the medical team a view of the organs and tissues. Additionally, small incisions may be made to allow operating instruments to be inserted for the removal of tissue. Once the CO2 is expelled from the area, the small incisions can be closed with stitches. The obvious benefits are the small size of incisions and reduced bleeding that results from those incisions being so small.
Pain is reduced along with the minimal bleeding, which means shortened recovery time after laparoscopic surgery. Doctors don’t necessarily need to use blood transfusion as a standard part of this surgery, and the small incisions mean fewer opportunities for associated problems like bleeding and post-surgery pain. Scar tissue is reduced, of course, and the chance of infection is greatly minimised. It’s not necessary to expose internal organs as with the open procedure, again reducing the chance of infection.
Because the recovery time is greatly reduced, the expense of a hospital stay can also be reduced, significantly so. In fact, many patients are discharged the same day or the next day, giving them the opportunity to return to their daily life quickly and safely. The example mentioned earlier is, of course, just that, an example. Some people question whether their operation can be completed with the laparoscopic method.
The answer to their question depends wholly on the type of surgery and on the doctors involved. If the gallbladder or appendix is to be removed, the procedure can be accomplished with a laparoscope. Stomach resection (due to cancer) may also be done this way. However, there are situations in which laparoscopic surgery is not possible for specific patients or if there is no benefit as compared to traditional open surgery.
If the patient is bleeding profusely due to some trauma or cannot tolerate general anaesthesia, the doctor may decide to use other methods. Each patient’s situation is evaluated carefully to determine which procedure will yield the most positive result. If possible, the decision will be made to use the laparoscopic method in order to give the patient quick recovery after the operation. Your doctor and other medical professionals will consider your individual case carefully before making a final decision.