Laparoscopic Surgery – Procedure, Type, Preparation, Benefits, Results & Recovery

What is a laparoscopic procedure?

A laparoscopic surgery, also known as “minimally invasive surgery” or “keyhole surgery”, is a procedure wherein instead of one large incision, a few tiny incisions are made through which a laparoscope and the instruments for performing the surgery are inserted. A laparoscope is a thin tube with a camera attached to the front. Through this camera, the surgeon can then view the internal organs and operate.

Earlier, doctors used laparoscopies only for the purpose of diagnosing conditions. Later, when better techniques were developed, laparoscopic surgeries were more accepted by surgeons all over. Surgeries such as tubal ligation were performed in women, using laparoscopy. Nowadays, these techniques have advanced so much that surgeries that once needed large incisions can also be easily performed with this technique.

Why do you need a procedure?

Along with diagnostic purposes, laparoscopy can also be used as a method of treatment. In case you have pelvic plain for no reason, or infertility issues, a diagnostic laparoscopy would be performed. Conditions like endometriosis, pelvic abscess, infertility, reproductive cancers and uterine fibroids can be diagnosed with the help of a laparoscopy.

Laparoscopic surgeries can be performed in cases such as repairing a hernia, removal of scar tissue, removal of ovaries and fibroids, weight-reduction procedures, removal of a kidney and so on. It is a preferred technique because patients can recover faster after surgery and the trauma to the body is also less. Initially, laparoscopic techniques were used only for gynaecologic as well as gall bladder surgeries, but over the years its usage has also expanded to intestinal surgeries.

What kinds of operations can be performed using this type of surgery?

At Apollo Spectra, our skilled surgeons perform advanced laparoscopic and general surgeries for conditions such as –

– surgeries for fistulas and fissures

– breast surgeries

– varicose veins and vascular procedures

– minor surgical procedures such as removal of the appendix

– treatments for trauma and accidents

How to prepare for a procedure?

At Apollo Spectra, you would be meeting our highly skilled surgeons who would ask you questions regarding your medical history. A physical examination will also be performed. The surgeon will answer any doubts and questions you have regarding the procedure. Before the procedure, your intestine needs to be cleaned, so you would be given a laxative for the same. It is important as this will decrease your chances of getting an infection as there are bacteria present in your intestine, normally. You would be asked to not eat anything through your mouth, post-midnight, the day before your surgery.

A blood sample would also be required for every patient. Tests such as an ECG or a chest x-ray would be required, depending on your general health and age. At Apollo Spectra, you would also meet anaesthesiologists and other doctors who would be involved in the whole procedure to make you more comfortable and explain everything to you. You would be made aware of drug allergies and you would be unconscious during the whole surgery.

You shall also tell your surgeon regarding any medication that you currently take and whether you should continue taking it or not, before the surgery.

How is a laparoscopic procedure performed?

Generally, before proceeding with the surgery, an intravenous tube is inserted into your arm, for delivering fluids and medication, by the nurses. Once the operating room is ready, you would be taken there. Then, anaesthesia is injected into your IV by anaesthesiologists at Apollo Spectra, which will make you sleep.

Then, proceeding with the surgery, a small incision is made near your belly button, by our highly skilled surgeons. Through this incision, a tube is inserted and carbon dioxide is pumped through this tube. This inflates the abdomen, allowing the surgeons to get a clear view of your organs. Then, through the same tube, a laparoscope is inserted. With the help of this device, the images of the whole area are relayed on to a television monitor which helps the surgeon to operate easily.

If a laparoscopic procedure is conducted to diagnose any condition, it will hardly take an hour or so. If the procedure is being performed for a surgery like the removal of the appendix, more than one incision would be made in the abdomen through which surgical instruments can be inserted and guided in the abdominal cavity with the help of the laparoscope.

The laparoscope and other instruments are removed once the surgeon finishes operating and the incisions are stitched.

Benefits
  • Open surgeries, as compared to laparoscopic procedures cause huge inflammatory reactions in the body, which makes patients prone to viral as well as bacterial infections post-surgery.
  • The adhesions caused in a laparoscopic surgery are also less compared to open surgeries.
  • Laparoscopic procedures leave smaller scars because the multiple incisions are smaller in measurement. So a long, 6-inch incision typically made in an open surgery is not needed. These smaller incisions heal faster and are less painful as compared to an open surgery, thus laparoscopic surgeries promise faster recovery.
  • The hospital stay also reduces with laparoscopic surgeries and the risk of infection is also minimised as space from which bacteria and other microorganisms may enter, becomes smaller.
  • The total costs of a laparoscopic surgery are less than that of an open surgery.
  • Miniature cameras used in a laparoscopic surgery provide a close-up view for the surgeons, aiding them with the surgery and result in high precision.
  • It is the preferred technique for most abdominal surgeries and is gaining popularity for weight-loss surgeries as well.
  • The recovery time period after a laparoscopic surgery is shorter as compared to that after an open surgery.
  • A laparoscopic procedure can be used both as a diagnostic as well as a treatment option.
Side Effects

Like any other surgical procedure, laparoscopic surgeries also have side effects.

– Post-operation pain

Patients may experience severe pain right after the operation, which subsides after 24 hours.

– Shoulder and upper chest pain

The most common side effect after a laparoscopic surgery, it occurs due to increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity. This increase in pressure is due to the gas that is pumped for inflating the abdomen.

–  Allergic reactions and fever may also occur after a laparoscopic surgery.

– You may also experience pain during urination and bowel movements.

– In rare cases, incisions from the surgery may get infected.

– In the rarest case, internal organs and blood vessels may get damaged. Surgery may be required immediately for repairing the damage.

– Complications may also arise from general anaesthesia.

Potential risks of a procedure

Although rare, the most common risks of a laparoscopic procedure are infection or damage to the abdominal organs as well as bleeding. You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

– intense abdominal pain

– shortness of breath

– nausea and vomiting

– swelling or redness at the incision site

– fever

– light-headedness

Some serious complications due to laparoscopic surgeries are –

– blood clots

– allergic reactions

– adhesions

– nerve damage

The surgery also holds a risk of damage to the organs during the procedure, which would require another surgery. If you’ve had abdominal surgeries before, then a laparoscopic surgery may not be the recommended, as the risk of adhesions between structures in the abdomen increases and in turn, the risk of injuring the organs as well. Obesity or being too thin, pelvic infection, chronic bowel disease or extreme endometriosis can also increase the risk of complications.

Types

– For the removal of uterine fibroids, a myomectomy is done, which can be performed laparoscopically.

– A laparoscopic total hysterectomy, as well as supracervical hysterectomy, can be performed to remove the uterus and the cervix or only the uterus.

– Diagnostic laparoscopies are done to examine the organs inside your abdomen.

– Microlaparoscopic pain mapping is performed to help pinpoint what exactly is causing pain in a woman’s pelvic area.

– Removal of endometriosis can also be done laparoscopically.

– Adhesions may contribute to pelvic or abdominal pain, so reduction of adhesions can be done laparoscopically. Although, results are promising only when the adhesions are mild.

– Laparoscopic techniques can be used to remove the ovaries and ovarian cysts.

– If the uterus is retroverted, it can cause pain, especially during intercourse. This can be corrected with a laparoscopic uterine suspension.

– Robotic laparoscopic surgeries such as a myomectomy or hysterectomy are also performed, wherein the robotic system is used to perform the surgery.

Results

If the laparoscopy is diagnostic, its results would be examined by your doctor. If the results are normal, it means that there is no abdominal bleeding or a hernia and your organs are healthy. Abnormal results could indicate the following conditions –

  • Cysts or tumours
  • Cancer
  • Injury to an organ
  • Infection of the reproductive organs
  • Cholecystitis
  • Hernias
  • Appendicitis
  • Adhesions
  • Endometriosis

Your doctor at Apollo Spectra will recommend to you the next step if in case, your results are not normal and indicate any of the above conditions. A plan would be devised specially for you, by our team of doctors and surgeons.

Recovery

After the surgery, you’ll be kept under observation. Our hospital staff at Apollo Spectra would be monitoring your vital signs closely. They would also check that you don’t react adversely to the surgery or anaesthesia. Depending on your overall health, the way your body reacts to the surgery and the type of anaesthesia being used, your stay at the hospital would vary. If you have received general anaesthesia, you would have to ask a family member or a friend to drive you back home as the effects of general anaesthesia can take multiple hours to wear off.

You would experience some mild pain at the incision areas after the laparoscopic surgery, for a few days. The pain would subside in a few days, and you may be prescribed medication for relief. You may also experience shoulder pain and bloating, which would subside within a few days. Most patients are able to resume their daily activities within a week of surgery.  Two weeks after the surgery, you would be required to come and meet your doctor at Apollo Spectra, for a follow-up appointment.

For smooth recovery, make sure that you don’t do any strenuous activity or the risk of blood clots may increase. You should also get more sleep and if you have a sore throat, use throat lozenges. Wear loose-fitting clothes so that the site of your incisions doesn’t get irritated.

FAQs
  1. Why is recovery after laparoscopic surgeries faster?

The incisions in a laparoscopic surgery are smaller as compared to that in an open surgery. This causes less damage to your body and thus, it heals faster and is less painful.

  1. How soon can patients start eating?

If there is no procedure performed on the bowel, patients can start eating on the same day as the surgery, once they recover from the effects of anaesthesia completely.

  1. If a person has had an abdominal surgery before, is he/she a candidate for a laparoscopic surgery?

Those who’ve had an abdominal surgery previously are at a higher chance of undergoing an open surgery, but you could still undergo a laparoscopic surgery. It varies from patient to patient.

Why Apollo Spectra?

At Apollo Spectra, our patients are of the utmost importance to us. We strive to provide our patients and their families with the best surgical and post-surgical care. We also have state-of-the-art infrastructure and our surgeons and doctors are highly-skilled in the field. The latest equipment is used at Apollo Spectra, and our staff is constantly involved in research to come up with better solutions for medical problems. They offer each patient a personalised treatment plan, which is designed to fulfil their needs and as per their overall health and requirements. Various conditions are treated by surgeons at Apollo Spectra, using general and laparoscopic techniques. We follow strict protocols so that our patients are safe from infections.