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Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy Overview

Laparoscopy is a way of performing a surgery. Instead of making a large incision (or cut) for certain operations, surgeons make tiny incisions and insert tiny instruments and a camera into a site, such as into the abdomen, to view the internal organs and repair or remove tissue.

Laparoscopy was first performed in animals in the early 1900s, and the Swedish surgeon Jacobaeus coined the term laparoscopy (laparothorakoskopie) in 1901. However, better techniques were not developed until the 1960s, when laparoscopy was accepted as a safe and valuable procedure.

Early on, the technique of laparoscopy, sometimes referred to as keyhole surgery, was used only to diagnose conditions. Then doctors began to perform surgeries such as tubal sterilization in women using laparoscopy. The technique has evolved so much that operations that once required doctors to make a very large incision, such as to remove the gallbladder, can now all be done with this less invasive surgery.

For patients, laparoscopy can often mean a faster recovery from surgery, less time in the hospital or outpatient surgery center, and less trauma to the body. Doctors do not have to slice through large abdominal muscles to reach vital organs.

Laparoscopic instruments and techniques are used for a variety of procedures, including knee and shoulder surgery. Operations now often performed laparoscopically include the following, among many others:

  • Removal of diseased organs such as the gallbladder or appendix


  • Removal or repair of diseased parts of the colon or stomach (digestive system)


  • Removal or repair of the bladder, ureters, or kidneys (urinary system)


  • Removal or repair of women's reproductive organs, such as the uterus or fallopian tubes


  • Tubal ligation


  • Removal of a kidney in a living donor


  • Weight-reduction procedures, such as gastric bypass


  • Repair of a hernia


  • To view the liver and pancreas for the presence of cancer tumors


  • To view the abdomen for signs of disease that has been difficult to diagnose (exploratory surgery)


  • To view a tumor in the abdomen


  • To check the source of abdominal pain or remove scar tissue


  • To look for the source of internal bleeding or fluid buildup if the patient has a normal blood pressure


  • To view injury following trauma or an accident

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Gynecologic Laparoscopy »

During the last35 years, gynecologic laparoscopy has evolved from a limited surgical procedure used only for diagnosis and tubal ligations to a major surgical tool used to treat a multitude of gynecologic indications.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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