What is Laparoscopic Surgery? Very simply, “Laparoscopic Surgery” is a modern surgical technique in which operations are performed using a video camera and several small instruments. This type of surgery has a number of names including “Minimally Invasive Surgery” and “Keyhole Surgery.”

During laparoscopic surgery, instead of making a large incision through which the surgeon operates, the surgeon makes small incisions in the appropriate area of the body and tubes called ports are placed through these incisions. The camera and instruments are then introduced through the ports allowing the doctor to gain access to the inside of the patient.

The video camera transmits an image of the inside of the body onto a television monitor and it becomes the surgeon’s eyes in performing laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon uses the images from the video camera positioned inside the patient’s body to perform the surgical procedure.

Minimally invasive/laparoscopic surgery offers a number of advantages over the traditional “open” surgery:
  • There is typically less post operative pain, because the incisions are much smaller
  • Hospital stays are shorter, often requiring only an overnight stay;
  • Recovery time is quicker; and
  • It appears that there may be less internal scarring.

In addition to the typical risks of any surgery, there are some risks that are specifically related to laparascopic surgery. For example, operating by way of a TV screen and using specialized hand tools is clearly different than operating in an open fashion.

Probably the most significant of these are from trocar injuries to blood vessels, the large and small bowel or other surrounding organs. A surgical trocar is an instrument used to make the small incisions through which the ports are placed.  The initial trocar is typically inserted blindly and although rare, significant complications can certainly occur.

Although minimally invasive surgery has many benefits, it is important to keep in mind that it is not risk free.

So what types of surgery can be performed laparascopically?  In today’s world, almost any surgery that can be performed as an “open” operation can be performed laparoscopically. Here are some examples:
  • Gallbladder surgery
  • Surgery for GERD Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Liver surgery
  • Appendectomy
  • Laparoscopic bowel surgery
  • Bariatric surgery for obesity
  • Knee surgery
  • Hip surgery and
  • Shoulder surgery

Although laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery is in many ways viewed as “band-aid” sugery and somehow less serious than an open procedure, there are many substantial risks that must not be overlooked. As with any surgery or medical procedure, it is important that you speak with your doctor at length about the nature of the surgery to be performed, the risks associated with the procedure the benefits of the procedure and any concerns you might have about it.

Unfortunately, medical mistakes happen during laparoscopic surgery just as they do during open surgery. The attorneys at the Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys have experience evaluating and handling personal injury cases in Kansas and Missouri involving medical malpractice. If you believe that you have suffered an injury due to a medical mistake we urge you to contact us to discuss your situation in more detail.
James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.