Common Questions About Laparoscopy
Wendy Winer, R.N., B.S.N., CNOR
What is minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is surgery done with either no incisions or very small incisions. This surgery may require no anesthetic, IV conscious sedation or general anesthesia. These surgeries may be performed in a qualified doctor’s office, surgery center with 23-hour stay capability or a hospital. These things will all vary with the surgeon’s preferences, training and what the best procedure is for the patient.
What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is one type of minimally invasive surgery. It is commonly referred to as:
- Keyhole surgery
- Band-aid Surgery
- Pinhole Surgery
Laparoscopy involves small incisions and is most commonly done under general anesthesia at a surgery center or hospital. Patients typically go home the same day or the following morning unless the procedure requires more involved or advanced laparoscopic surgery, possibly in colon surgery, for instance, and in some urogynecologic procedures.
What are the advantages of laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgery?
- Reduced blood loss during and after surgery, therefore, reducing the chance of a blood transfusion
- Reduced adhesions or scar tissue postoperatively
- Smaller and fewer incisions
- Less pain postoperatively, therefore, less pain medication needed postop
- Reduced hospital stay
- Reduced exposure of internal organs (less exposure to more traumatic instrumentation during surgery and glove powder) and air that can create dryness and therefore possibly create adhesions
- Reduced risk of infection
What common surgical procedures are performed laparoscopically?
- Gynecological or procedures dealing with diseases and routine physical care of the reproductive system of women.
- Exploratory Laparoscopy that includes evaluation of the pelvis and pelvic organs, i.e. ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, bladder and appendix.
- Procedures in Gynecology that can be done laparoscopically include ovarian cystectomy, excision of an ovary (oophorectomy, also called ovariectomy), myomectomy, hysterectomy, lysis of adhesions, tubal reanastomosis, excision of endometriosis, oncology procedures and evaluation, pelvic floor reconstruction and bladder surgery.
- General surgery and gastroenterological or procedures dealing with the structure, function, diseases and pathology of the stomach and intestines
- These types of procedures can include gallbladder excision (cholecystectomy), appendix excision (appendectomy), spleen excision (splenectomy), hernia repair (herniorrhaphy), bariatric or procedures dealing with obesity (gastric bypass), and bowel or colon surgeries.
- Urological or procedures dealing with urinary or urogenital organs.
- Kidney removal (nephrectomy)
- Many additional procedures may be done as well laparoscopically or endoscopically. There are continual advances almost daily of additional types of procedures that can be done through minimally invasive techniques in all areas of the body. There is a huge trend towards less invasive procedures that afford patients improved results with decreased morbidity.