Laparoscopic Surgery: Purpose, Procedure, and Benefits

Laparoscopic surgery is a form of surgery that uses a long, thin tube/flexible tool with a tiny, high resolution video camera and high-intensity light at the front, which when inserted the body of an individual can provide insights into the inner functioning of the targeted body organ or area. This tool is also called a laparoscope. As the tool moves along, it sends images to a video monitor. The entire functioning and state of the body organ or area can be seen on the monitor with the help of the video camera, which enables the doctor to know the exact condition, decide the course of treatment and often also use this technique to cure certain problems. This method of surgery is minimally-invasive or often called keyhole surgery, and uses barely any cuts; a general laparoscopy involves four cuts including the incision made to enter the body.

Purpose of a laparoscopic surgery

Laparoscopy is the best method to use when the exact nature of the problem is unclear and a real time view of the organ or problem is required. This minimally-invasive surgery is used to identify and diagnose the source of problem when non-invasive methods of diagnosis fail to detect the problem or provide clarity on the situation. In cases where methods such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan, or ultrasound are unsuccessful in depicting the condition of the organ in focus, and do not provide adequate information or insights for an analysis – a laparoscopic surgery comes into play. The procedure can also be used to collect a biopsy or a sample tissue from the targeted organ or area.

In all, a doctor may recommend a laparoscopy for problems affecting the body organs such as:

  • Appendix
  • Gallbladder
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Spleen
  • Stomach
  • Pelvis
  • Other reproductive organs

An examination of these organs through a laparoscopy procedure can help detect some of the following issues, such as:

  • A mass or tumour
  • Fluid in the organ
  • Liver problem
  • Effect of medications
  • Cancer and the stage of cancer

Procedure of a laparoscopy surgery

Before beginning a laparoscopy surgery, it is important to keep certain things in mind such as:

  • The patient must inform the doctor about all the medications he/she is consuming, especially blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, supplements of any form, vitamin K, etc. It is important to make the doctor aware of the medications because all of such medications and more can affect the outcome of a laparoscopy. More so, inform the doctor of pregnancy.
  • The doctor might ask the patient to get tested via some blood test, urinalysis, EKG, ECG, chest X-ray. The doctor will also conduct prior imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan.
  • It is advisable to avoid eating before certain hours of the procedure.

Once through the pre-surgery preparations, the patient is under the influence of general anaesthesia so that he does not feel any pain. The anaesthesia is given to the patient via the intravenous (IV) line placed in one of your veins.  This IV can is later used to provide special medications to the patient, as well as hydration fluids.

In some cases, where the surgery is not intense, the patient might be given a local anaesthesia instead of a general anaesthesia. In this one, the patient will stay awake during the surgery but the particular part of concern will be numb due to the impact of the anaesthesia.

One through the anaesthesia procedure, the surgeon makes the cut, to insert the long, flexible tube inside the body of the patient. Once the tool is in place, it is moved to the exact point to provide real-time images of the affected organ on the screen with the help of the video camera and the light.

The surgery barely uses cuts and the number and size of incisions made depend on the specific problem in concern and the number of problems that the surgeon wants to detect. In a general laparoscopic procedure, one to four incisions of approximately 1-2 centimetres in length are made. These incisions also act as entry gates of other tools that might be needed to perform the task in concern. For example, in cases where a biopsy needs to be done, another surgical tool might be inserted to collect the tissue sample of the organ.

Once the images are able to depict the problem and the doctors have gained all information necessary or possible to obtain through a laparoscopy procedure, the incisions are closed with surgical stitches or medical tape and bandaged to keep the protected.

While the surgery is very simple with hardly any risks or side effects, yet some of the rare cases might experience risks such as bleeding, infection, and damage to the organ. That said, these risks have minimum chances of occurrence but some symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Intense pain in the affected organ
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling and bleeding at the incision

However, even in cases where such risks or symptoms do occur, it is possible to cure the problem and ensure 100 percent safety. On a general scale, a laparoscopic procure is one of the safest surgical procedures.

Benefits of a laparoscopic surgery

A laparoscopic surgery has many benefits such as:

  • Minimum cuts
  • Barely any scars
  • Less painful
  • Quick healing
  • Minimum side-effects
  • Quick recovery time
  • Less internal scarring
  • Economical
  • Higher success rates
  • Low chances of infection

Overall a laparoscopic surgery outweighs the benefits of an open surgery in conditions that can effectively work with a minimally-invasive diagnostic procedure.