What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure utilizing small incisions and a special instrument called a laparoscope (a very small telescope with a camera attached). During laparoscopic surgery, very small incisions are made into the abdomen wall, and hollow tubes, called cannulas, are inserted into the abdomen. The laparoscope is then inserted into the tubes, giving the surgeon a magnified “view” of the patient’s organs during surgery. Special scopes/instruments are used for cutting, clamping, etc. The advantages of this type of surgery are:
- Smaller Incisions – For example, only four small incisions (.5 cm- 1 cm) are typically needed in a gallbladder removal surgery performed laparoscopically…In a traditional “open” gall bladder surgery, a 20 cm incision may be required to remove the gallbladder;
- Reduced Hemorrhaging – Smaller cuts result in less bleeding, reducing chances of needing a blood transfusion;
- Less post-operative pain than is typically involved with an open surgery;
- Shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times!
Common Laparoscopic Surgeries
- Hernia (inguinal, umbilical, incisional, ventral, hiatal) – A hernia is a condition in which part of an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity containing it. Sometimes, when a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue is herniated, severe pain and potentially serious complications can occur. Hernias do not go away by themselves, and have the potential to get worse over time. If you suspect you have a hernia, consult with your primary physician or General Surgery of Southaven promptly: delayed hernia repair can result in a trapped intestine, which could develop gangrene and become a surgical emergency. While traditional open hernia repair surgery requires a 3-5 inch long incision and up to 2 to 3 weeks of painful recuperation, the laparoscopic technique employed by Dr. Fore makes it possible to perform this procedure in a minimally invasive manner with only a few tiny incisions, resulting in minimal discomfort and, in many cases, patients can return to normal activity in as little as two days. You can read more about hernias at PubMed.
- Gallbladder – The gallbladder is a pear shaped organ located just beneath the right side of the liver. Bile (a digestive liquid) is produced by the liver and collected by the gallbladder. After eating, bile is released from the gallbladder to aid digestion. However, some people experience problems with their gallbladder such as gallstones (hard masses consisting of cholesterol and/or bile salts) in the gallbladder itself or in the bile duct (the passageway for bile to pass from the gallbladder to the small intestine). These stones may block the flow of bile out of the gallbladder, which can cause the gallbladder to swell and lead to a myriad of complications ranging from indigestion to severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Minimally invasive surgical removal of the gallbladder is a safe treatment of gallbladder disease. The operation requires 4 small openings in the abdomen instead of a 5-7 inch incision required by an “open” surgery, resulting in minimal post-operative pain and faster recovery and return to normal activities. You can read more about laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder at PubMed.
- Colon – The intestine is made up of the small intestine, the large intestine (the colon) and the rectum (the last part of the colon). There are numerous types of colon diseases that might require surgical intervention, including Crohn’s, tumors, polyps, ulcerative colitis and others. “Open” surgery colon procedures can be extremely invasive and may require a week (or more) hospital stay in addition to a lengthy (up to 6 weeks or more) recovery. Dr. Fore is experienced with laparoscopic colon surgery, a relatively new technique that, like other laparoscopic surgeries, offers patients shorter hospitalization times, faster recovery times, and is often a less painful experience for the patient. You can read more information about gastrointestinal disorders treated with laparoscopic surgeries at Medicinenet.com.
- Appendix – The appendix is a narrow, dead-end tube about three-to-four inches long that hangs off of the cecum (a pouch at the beginning of the large intestine), normally located at the lower right side of the abdomen. If the appendix becomes diseased or blocked, it can become inflamed and burst, spreading infection into the abdominal space. Untreated, this can cause death. Appendicitis is a medical emergency and should be evaluated by doctor immediately! While mild appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics, the best treatment of appendicitis is its surgical removal, called an appendectomy. In most cases, patients who undergo a laparoscopic appendectomy can be discharged in as little as 24-36 hours – compared to 3-5 days for patients undergoing an open procedure. You can read more about appendectomies, and related symptoms of appendicitis, at PubMed.
- Splenectomy – The spleen is an organ located just below the diaphragm (in the upper left side of the abdomen) and has two important functions: a) to filter blood by removing old red blood cells, bacteria and other particles, and b) it also produces a type of white blood cell called a “lymphocyte”, which helps produce antibodies and fight infection. There are many different reasons that might indicate removal of the spleen; some are emergency procedures (such as when the spleen is bleeding due to abdominal trauma) which will require an open surgical procedure, while others may be better suited for laparoscopic surgery (such as a “wandering spleen”). If a splenectomy is indicated, but is not emergent (i.e., not too enlarged and is an elective surgery), then Dr. Fore may be able to perform a laparoscopic splenectomy instead of the traditional open surgery procedure, resulting in fewer and smaller incisions, and a faster recovery. You can read more about splenectomies at PubMed.
- Lysis of adhesions – An adhesion is a band of scar tissue that binds two structures of the body that are usually separated. They are often formed after inflammation resulting from trauma such as surgery or infection, and are commonly found in the abdomen, although they can occur in other places in the body as well. Lysis (destruction or dissolution) of adhesions is a surgery performed to free adhesions from tissues. While open surgical outcomes are highly favorable, adhesions can return because the surgery itself can cause them. Minimally invasive surgery can remove adhesions with very little internal scarring. You can read more about adhesions at Baptist Medical Systems.
Please note that during any operation, circumstances may arise in which Dr. Fore reserves the right to convert from a laparoscopic procedure to an open procedure. This is a sound judgement call and should not necessarily be considered a complication, but rather a decision based on patient safety and optimal surgical outcome.