Laparoscopic Surgery

What is laparoscopic surgery?

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Laparoscopic surgery is a technique that utilizes thin instruments and a lighted telescope to look and work inside of the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopy uses multiple small incisions, each about a quarter to one half of an inch. Carbon dioxide gas is used to fill the belly cavity and to create enough space to see and operate.

How does laparoscopic surgery work?

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Three to five small incisions are made in the abdomen. These holes allow the surgeon to pass instruments – such as scissors, staplers, sutures and graspers – as well as the telescope connected to a light source and a camera. Then laparoscopic instruments are positioned in the incisions. The abdomen is filled with a harmless gas to inflate it so the doctor can more easily view the organs. The tiny incisions are then closed with tape, stitches, or staples at the end of the surgery.

When is laparoscopy used?

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While this technique was first used by the general surgeons to remove gall bladders in the 1980s, urologists began to perform laparoscopic kidney surgery in 1992. Since then, the vast majority of kidney and prostate surgery is performed with laparoscopy and only a small portion requires an open approach. Many urinary tract conditions can be treated with laparoscopy. Laparoscopic surgery has become at least a consideration for an increasing number of abdominal procedures. However, not everyone nor every condition is a candidate for laparoscopic surgery.

Where is laparoscopic surgery performed?

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Laparoscopic surgery is performed in a hospital. You will be given an IV line with medication and general anesthesia. The procedure is performed in an operating room, often one designed for laparoscopic surgeries. You could stay in the hospital for a day or two or go home the same day of the procedure.

What are the benefits of laparoscopic vs. open surgery?

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Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic surgery is less stressful for the patient. It increases the surgeon’s ability to see what they are working on, and it decreases blood loss, all while causing less pain. These advantages all translate into a quicker recovery and a significantly shorter hospital stay compared to open surgery. Complications including skin irritation and infection are possible with both approaches.
Open surgery does allow for greater access and more surgical options. Some types of surgery may have better health status outcomes, even when the recovery time is longer. Other types of surgery can’t be completed at all using laparoscopy. However, in most cases, a laparoscopic approach can be used instead of an open surgery that would require a much larger, more painful incision. For example, a partial kidney removal would use 4 small incisions in the front of the abdomen while an open surgery would use a 10-inch incision on the patient’s side or flank.

Is laparoscopic surgery painful?

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The pain of laparoscopy surgery is generally nominal. You may feel shoulder pain from the gas that was used to inflate the stomach. The nurses will give you pain medication if needed. Walking around will help alleviate the gas pains and also helps prevent blood clots. When you go home, you should take it easy and follow the doctor’s instructions such as no bathing or swimming for 2 weeks. Call your doctor if you contract a fever, redness around the incisions, bleeding, severe pain, nausea, vomiting, swelling or pain in your legs.

Is laparoscopy major or minor surgery?

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Generally described as a minimally invasive procedure, laparoscopy is less invasive than open surgery. However, like any surgery, laparoscopy carries risk of infection and other rare, but potentially serious, side effects. Laparoscopic surgery can be classified as major or minor surgery depending on the nature of the procedure performed. Most laparoscopic procedures are major surgery, but gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy) and getting one’s tubes tied (tubal ligation) are minor surgeries.

The Procedure

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Laparoscopy is performed in a hospital. You will be given an IV line with medication and general anesthesia. Three to five small incisions are made in your abdomen. Then laparoscopic instruments are positioned in the incisions. Your abdomen is filled with a harmless gas to inflate it so the doctor can more easily view your organs. These tiny incisions will be closed with tape, stitches, or staples. You could stay in the hospital for a day or two or go home the same day of the procedure.

The pain is generally nominal. You may feel shoulder pain from the gas that was used to inflate the stomach. The nurses will give you pain medication if needed. Walking around will help alleviate the gas pains and also helps prevent blood clots.

When you go home, you should take it easy and follow the doctor’s instructions such as no bathing or swimming for 2 weeks. Call your doctor if you contract a fever, redness around the incisions, bleeding, severe pain, nausea, vomiting, swelling or pain in your legs.

Dr. Naeem Rahman and Dr. Walter Parker both specialize in laprascopic surgery.  They see patients in the Kingston, Fishkill and Poughkeepsie locations.

Dr. Praneeth Vemulapalli and Dr. Jaspreet Singh, also specialize in laprascopic surgery and see patients in the Newburgh location.