Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat problems of the genital and pelvic areas. During this procedure, an endoscope (tube) with a camera on the end is inserted through a tiny incision to allow your doctor to closely examine the organs of the area. Surgical instruments can be inserted through additional incisions to treat any identified problems.
Technological advances have brought computers and laparoscopic instruments to the forefront of surgical approaches. This provides patients with a minimally invasive technique that can be utilized in a wide range of procedures.
A laparoscopic procedure may be performed for a number of reasons, including to:
- Perform a biopsy
- Examine and possibly remove any growths (such as tumors)
- Diagnose and treat conditions such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease
- Perform endometrial ablation, which treats heavy menstrual periods without requiring a hysterectomy
- Remove fibroids (myomectomy)
- Check for metastasis (spreading) of cancer from other areas
- Perform a tubal ligation
- Remove organs such as the uterus (hysterectomy), one or both ovaries (oophorectomy) and/or the fallopian tubes (salpingectomy)
- Determine the cause of pelvic pain
- Determine the cause of infertility
Laparoscopy is performed under general anesthesia and generally takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what is done during the procedure. Laparoscopic surgery significantly shortens a patient’s recovery time and results in fewer complications compared to traditional open surgery. Patients can usually go home shortly after the procedure and return to work and other normal activities the next day. Strenuous activity should be avoided for about a week. Laparoscopy is considered a safe procedure with little risk of complications.
Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery
As technology improves, advanced laparoscopic techniques are now available for a wide range of surgical procedures, including most weight loss surgeries. Laparoscopy allows your doctor to achieve more accurate and effective results through minimally invasive techniques, offering many advantages to patients.
Traditional weight loss surgeries are often performed through large incisions in the abdomen that result in visible scarring, heavy bleeding and long recovery times. While patients are usually able to achieve the results they desired through this method, they do so by undergoing a major surgical procedure. Laparoscopic weight loss surgery allows patients to enjoy these same results without the accompanying side effects.
Laparoscopic surgery uses a long, thin tube with a camera at the end to help your doctor clearly visualize the targeted area during surgery. The camera and surgical instruments are inserted into the body through several tiny incisions that are carefully placed to minimize scarring and allow for easy concealment. These small incisions also decrease the amount of bleeding during surgery and reduce the risk of infection or other complications.
Laparoscopic techniques can be used for nearly any type of weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass, duodenal switch, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding. The amount, size and location of the incisions vary depending on each procedure, but are overall less invasive than traditional open surgeries. Laparoscopic weight loss surgery only requires a short hospital stay before patients are able to return home and slowly resume their regular activities.
While laparoscopic surgery can offer many advantages to patients, these procedures are not for everybody. It is important to weigh the benefits and risks of laparoscopic surgery with your doctor before deciding upon which weight loss surgery is right for you.
Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder collects and releases bile to aid in the process of digestion. Although the gallbladder performs a digestive function, it is not necessary for proper body functioning and may be removed if diseased.
Most frequently, a cholecystectomy is performed when gallstones are present and causing the patient distress. The gallbladder may, however, be removed for other reasons, such as to remove cancerous tissue. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is one of the most common operations performed in the United States.
Diagnosis of Gallbladder Disease
When a doctor suspects the presence of gallstones or other gallbladder disease, diagnostic tests are available to confirm this condition. There are also several tests to confirm the presence of gallstones, including:
- Abdominal ultrasound
- CT scan
- HIDA, or hepatobiliary iminoacetic acid scan
- ERCP, a type of endoscopy in which dye is used to illuminate the biliary tract
- Blood tests to check for infection or pancreatitis
The Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Procedure
In recent years, cholecystectomies have almost always been performed laparoscopically. This minimally invasive procedure results in less scarring, less pain and a much speedier recovery for the patient than the previously performed open surgery. In a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, in order for the surgeon to remove the gallbladder there are several small incisions made instead of one large one.
This surgery usually facilitates much more rapid healing and permits the patient to return home the same day. Because laparoscopic surgery is a simpler procedure than open abdominal surgery, there is less scarring and a smaller risk of complications developing.
Risks of Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Even though laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder is a very safe procedure, there are possible risks with any surgery. These may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia or medication
- Postsurgical infection
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Injury to adjacent organs
During a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, while unlikely, there are also specific risks of:
- Injury to the bile duct or adjacent organs
- Bile leakage
- Post-cholecystectomy syndrome
Approximately one in seven patients experience post-cholecystectomy syndrome after gall bladder surgery with periods of abdominal or back pain, indigestion, diarrhea, and, in extreme cases, fever and jaundice. Post-cholesystectomy syndrome is thought to result from bile leakage into the stomach or bile duct, or from a stone or stones remaining in the bile duct. Medications may help these problems and, usually, this condition resolves itself in a few months without further surgical intervention.
While there are minimal risks to a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, there are greater risks in allowing gallbladder disease to go untreated. Without treatment, the diseased gallbladder may become infected. The patient may also develop an infection of the bile duct, a fistula, a bowel obstruction or even a malignancy in the area.
Recovery from Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Recovery from laparoscopic cholecystectomy is generally smooth and uneventful. In most cases, the patient is able to return to normal activities in a week, and is back to full presurgical wellness within 2 to 3 weeks. The patient is able to resume a normal diet almost immediately after the surgical procedure and should experience no ill effects from the loss of the organ.
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