Laparoscopic Surgery

One of the most effective ways of treating problems in the pelvic area – minimally invasive with very low risk of infection.

What is laparoscopic surgery?

There are a lot of different names for laparoscopic surgery. You might know it as keyhole surgery, minimally invasive surgery (MIS), or bandaid surgery. It’s a type of surgery performed through a tiny incision in the skin, usually made away from the actual site of the area which needs treating, so as to avoid an unsightly scar somewhere obvious. The incision is usually no more than 1.5cm across, so leaves minimal scarring.

Why is laparoscopic surgery performed?

Commonly used for gastroenterology, urology and gynaecology, laparoscopic surgery is one of the most effective ways of treating problems in the pelvic area. Because it’s minimally invasive, there is very low risk of infection and damage to the surrounding tissue. Patients who have undergone laparoscopic surgery recover a lot faster than those who have had traditional large incision surgery.

What happens during laparoscopic surgery and how is it performed?

Laparoscopic surgery is always carried out under general anaesthetic, so the patient will be asleep throughout the procedure. One or more incisions are made in the abdomen, which allows the surgeon to insert his surgical tools and the tube they will use to inflate the area they’re operating on. Inflating gives them more space to work in. Once the procedure is complete, the air they pumped in is let out, and the small incisions are stitched up so that dressing can be applied. The patient usually goes home the same day.

When would I be offered laparoscopic surgery?

You may be offered laparoscopic surgery if the surgery you require is fairly minimal, or if a small sample of tissue is needed for diagnostic testing.

How common is laparoscopic surgery?

It’s becoming increasingly common in the treatment and diagnosis process. Since being proposed over 300 years ago, it’s really advanced in the last two decades, and is now the method of choice for surgeries like removal of the appendix or spleen.

What are the advantages of laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery has three big advantages over conventional surgery.

  1. Reduced morbidity: less risky than conventional surgery, the danger of infection and stress to the body is considerably lower with laparoscopic surgery.
  2. Decreased postoperative pain: a smaller incision and less disruption to the other organs means that there’s less damage to other parts of the body.
  3. Shorter hospital stay: the patient can be home and in their own surroundings in a much shorter time span than if they’d had a large incision.

What risks are associated with laparoscopic surgery?

As with all surgery, there are some risks which you should be aware of. Minor complications include bruising at the site of the incision, nausea and infection. Less often, major risks may include some damage to other organs or arteries, or as a result of the carbon dioxide gas which they pump in to inflate you. Some people are allergic to anaesthetic, or are prone to blood clots, which can cause serious complications. It is important to stress that the risk is minimal though, with only 1 in 1000 laparoscopic operations being anything other than straightforward.

What should I expect during recovery?

As with all operations under general anaesthetic, you can expect to feel groggy when you wake up from your laparoscopic operation. Some nausea may be experienced, but this should pass quite quickly. A nurse will monitor you, watching to see that you’re able to eat, drink and pass urine before discharging you home. You’ll be told how to keep your wound clean to avoid infection, and if you’ve not had dissolvable stitches, be given an appointment to have your stitches removed. You may feel some cramp type pains in your abdomen, and a little bloated and uncomfortable, but you can take painkillers which will help with this.