Laparoscopic or "keyhole" surgery became available during the last decade of the twentieth century with the development of small, lightweight, high resolution video cameras. Laparoscopy is performed with the use of a laparoscope, a telescopic camera that allows the surgeon to view a magnified picture of the internal organs. The picture is then projected from the video camera onto a television monitor and the operation is performed using special instruments, which are inserted into the abdomen through small incisions in the skin.
This technique enables faster patient recovery, less post-operative pain, a shorter hospital stay, fewer wound complications, and a better cosmetic outcome. Many conditions can be treated laparoscopically, if the surgeon determines that the circumstances are appropriate. These conditions include:
- Gall stones and bile duct stones.
- Groin and abdominal hernia.
- Reflux disease (heartburn).
- Esophageal disease.
- Bowel and colon disease.
- Removal of diseased organs such as the spleen, adrenal glands, or kidneys.
- Morbid obesity.
- Diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of abdominal pain, inflammation, tumors, or adhesions.
- Abdominal emergencies such as perforated peptic ulcer or appendicitis.