Laparoscopic surgery, also referred to as minimally invasive surgery, describes the performance of surgical procedures with the assistance of a video camera and several thin instruments. During the surgical procedure, small incisions of up to half an inch are made and plastic tubes called ports are placed through these incisions. The camera and the instruments are then introduced through the ports which allow access to the inside of the patient.
The camera transmits an image of the organs inside the abdomen onto a television monitor. The surgeon is not able to see directly into the patient without the traditional large incision. The video camera becomes the surgeon’s eyes in laparoscopy surgery, since the surgeon uses the image from the video camera positioned inside the patient’s body to perform the procedure.
During laparoscopy, a small incision is made in the belly. More than one incision may be made if other tools will be used during the surgery. A hollow needle is put through the first incision and gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide) is slowly put through the needle to inflate the abdomen. The gas lifts the abdominal wall away from the organs inside so the doctor can see clearly.
A thin, lighted tube (laparoscope) is then put through the incision to look at the organs. Other tools can be used to take tissue samples, fix damage, or drain cysts. A laser may be attached to the laparoscope to help with the surgery.
The patient can usually do normal activities the next day, but should avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for about a week depending on type of surgery.
Patient may be tired and have some pain for a few days after a laparoscopy. Patient may have a mild sore throat from the tube in the throat. Have patient use throat lozenges and gargle with warm salt water to help sore throat.