Q: What exactly is Laparoscopy?
A: It’s a surgical technique in which the abdominal cavity (belly) is inflated with carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and distended. A small (3-11mm thick) telescope (resembling a long and thin tube) is then inserted through the belly button, inside the abdominal cavity. This telescope, called a laparoscope, has a light source and camera that provides the surgical team with a highly detailed video stream of what is inside the abdomen.
The gas that is used to inflate the abdominal cavity keeps the walls of the abdomen and the organs separated from each other, allowing excellent exposure. Additional (one to three) 5-10mm incisions are made to insert long and thin instruments. These instruments are essentially extensions of the surgeon’s hands, allowing the surgeon to use these instruments from outside the body and perform surgery inside the abdominal cavity.
Q: Where are the incisions made and how big are they?
A: The incision for the insertion of the laparoscope is usually done at the belly button. It is 3-12mm in size (quarter to half inch). Similarly 1 to 3 more incisions may be made in order to insert the operating instruments. These incisions are also very small (quarter to half inch).
Q: What are the advantages of laparoscopy?
A: • Excellent visualization (exposure of organs)
• Minimal trauma to surrounding organs
• Small incisions with less chance of wound infection and/or breakdown
• Significantly less adhesion formation (scar tissue inside the abdomen
that may cause pain, infertility or bowl obstruction)
• Shorter hospital stay and significantly faster recovery
• Faster mobilization of the patient, potentially minimizing post-operative
Q: How long will I stay in the hospital and how soon will I recover from surgery?
A: In general, most of our patients are ready to go home the same day. In cases involving more extensive procedures, an overnight stay may be required for observational purposes. However, the majority of such patients will be able to go home the next day. Recovery is fast and most patients are able to resume their regular activities (including work) within 1-2 weeks. That is much faster than the usual 4-6 weeks of recovery after open abdominal surgery.
Q: Are there any risks, disadvantages or contraindications in laparoscopy?
A: As with any medical/ surgical intervention or procedure there could be some risk associated with it. These risks are similar to those encountered with conventional open surgery (bleeding, infection, trauma to adjacent organs, etc.).
Extensive operative laparoscopic procedures are technically more demanding and require additional training and surgical skills from the surgeon. In the hands of experienced and trained surgeons, laparoscopy is a very useful technique that involves minimal risks and ultimately provides benefits for the overall well-being of the patient. Some absolute contraindications for laparoscopy are circulatory collapse (shock), and severe cardiopulmonary disease.
Q: Are insurance companies covering laparoscopic surgery?
A: Our office accepts most PPOs and other private insurances.