Laparoscopic surgery is also referred to as 'minimally invasive surgery' or 'keyhole surgery'. It differs from conventional 'open' surgery ('laparotomy') in that, instead of one large incision being made through the skin to allow the surgeon to operate, several much smaller incisions (called 'ports') are made to the skin to allow the insertion of special laparoscopic surgical instruments. The surgeon is then able to carry out the procedure and view the internal tissues and organs on a large monitor which shows images from a small camera and high intensity light inside the abdominal cavity.
Laparoscopic surgery was first employed in Europe in 1910 and became a common procedure from the 1970s. The first laparoscopic removal of an appendix took place in Germany in 1981.
The main advantages of laparoscopic surgery over conventional open surgery are:
- Laparoscopic surgery is generally quicker than open surgery.
- Less post-operative pain.
- Faster recovery time*.
- Less incisional scarring.
- Lower risk of infection and adhesions.
Laparoscopic techniques are commonly used for procedures involving the following parts of the body:
Dr Candice Silverman specialises in laparoscopic procedures and has performed over two thousand procedures using laparoscopic techniques.
* In terms of recovery time, it is common for patients to need to stay in hospital for a week after conventional surgery and for full recovery to take up to six weeks. In contrast, patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery are generally able to leave hospital 2-3 days after surgery and full recovery generally takes 2-3 weeks.