Laparoscopy: Minimally Invasive Surgery

Laparoscopy: Minimally Invasive Surgery


Having to undergo a major surgery is stressful, given the common perception of uncertainties, pain, and long lay-offs associated with it. But that is no longer a valid fear today for the majority of medical conditions, thanks to revolutionary progress in medical technology.

The age-old open surgical procedures with large incisions are being overwhelmingly replaced with minimally invasive surgeries that offer outstanding benefits over the conventional procedure in terms of:

  • Smaller incisions and scars.
  • Shorter hospital stays and recovery times.
  • Lower risk of complications.
  • Less pain and discomfort.
  • Less scarring.
  • Reduced blood loss.

Shed your worries, if your treatment requires surgeries in the chest, abdomen, groin, and pelvis. A minimally invasive surgery (also called keyhole surgery) has a very high success rate with rare serious complications. You will be released most likely on the same day and back in your normal life in about a couple of weeks.

What is a minimally invasive surgery?

The term ‘minimally invasive’ refers to very small to no incision compared to the sizes of cuts needed in open surgeries( 6” -8” diameter).

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, performed in the abdomen and pelvic regions, requires only a few tiny holes of ¼” to ½” diameter.

Endoscopy and Colonoscopy are other examples of minimally invasive surgery that are performed without an incision.

How a Laparoscopic surgery is performed?

In laparoscopy, an instrument called laparoscope is used which is a thin flexible pipe with a high-intensity light and a digital camera attached at the leading end.

The laparoscope is inserted to take the pictures of the inside of the tummy(abdomen) which the doctors can see on a large monitor in the operation room. The laparoscope is passed into the abdomen through a small cut (incision) in the skin.

Once the affected part is identified, doctors pass another fine surgical tool into the tummy through another hole in the skin. This is done to cut or trim a portion of affected tissue (biopsy) for lab testing under a microscope.

Some of the common laparoscopic surgeries

  • Removal of the gallbladder. This is sometimes called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, or 'lap choly', for short. It is now the most common way for a gallbladder surgery usually for gallstones which are causing pain.
  • Removal of the appendix.
  • Removal of patches of endometriosis.
  • Removal of parts of the intestines.
  • Female sterilization.
  • Treating ectopic pregnancy.
  • Taking a biopsy of various structures inside the abdomen, for testing under the microscope.


Colonoscopy detects cancer of the colon and rectum most accurately. The colonoscope is a similar instrument as a laparoscope that uses a long, thin, and flexible tube mounted with a digital camera and light source at the end.

The device is gently pushed through the anus slowly until it reaches the other end of the colon. As it moves through the tubular path of the colon, the colonoscope keeps sending the video of the path to help specialists detect abnormalities.

If colon polyps are found during a colonoscopy they are removed then and there using a process called polypectomy and sent for lab testing.

The removed polyp tissues they are then sent for testing to determine if they are cancerous. Although most polyps are benign, some may turn out to be containing cancerous cells. This shows how important is the removal of polyps in order to prevent colon cancer.


Endoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy, this procedure is used to find cancerous tissues in the upper GI tract including the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, using an instrument called the endoscope.

An endoscope is a long, thin, and flexible pipe fitted with a tiny camera and light at its leading tip, inserted into your mouth and pushed gently through your throat. You may be asked to swallow as the scope passes down your throat.

As the endoscope is forwarded down your esophagus, the images from the camera will be shown on a monitor. Your doctor will observe the image minutely to find out if there is any abnormality in your upper digestive tract. Gentle air pressure may be used to inflate your digestive tract. This allows the endoscope to move freely inside the tract.

Robotic surgery

You now have the option for more precision through some forms of a minimally invasive surgical procedure called the robotic surgery. This procedure is performed using an electronic operating station from where the surgeons view high-definition cameras and control robotic arms.

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