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Laparoscopic Surgery, or Keyhole Surgery is a way of doing surgery using small incisions (cuts) usually 0.3 to 1 cm long. It is different from “open” surgery where the incision on the skin can be several inches long. It is sometimes called “Minimally Invasive Surgery or Minimal Access Surgery.”

Laparoscopic surgery uses a special instrument called a Laparoscope. It has a camera attached to it that allows the surgeon to view the abdominal organs on a screen.The instruments usually are inserted through additional small incisions in the abdomen.

There is less pain after laparoscopic surgery than after open abdominal surgery, which involves larger incisions, longer hospital stays, and longer recovery times. Recovery from laparoscopic surgery generally is faster than recovery from open abdominal surgery. The smaller incisions that are used allow you to heal faster and have smaller scars. The risk of infection also is lower than with open surgery.

Almost all abdominal surgeries which are done open, can be done using laparoscopy. Some laparoscopic procedures may be challenging than others. Like any surgery, outcomes, safety and risks should be taken into consideration before deciding on the approach of the surgery. Have an open discussion with your surgeon about what is the safest and best procedure for you. Remember, what may be true for one person or illness, may not be true for others.

For a few days after the procedure, you may feel tired and have some discomfort. You may be sore around the incisions made in your abdomen and belly button. The tube put in your throat to help you breathe during the surgery may give you a sore throat. Try throat lozenges or gargle with warm salt water. You may feel pain in your shoulder or back. This pain is from the small amount of gas used during the procedure that remains in your abdomen. It goes away on its own within a few hours or days. If pain and nausea do not go away after a few days or become worse, you should contact your surgeon.

Your surgeon will let you know when you can get back to your normal activities. For minor procedures, it is often 1 to 2 days after the surgery. For more complex procedures, it can take longer. You may be told to avoid heavy activity or exercise.

Contact your surgeon right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Pain that is severe or gets worse
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from the incision
  • Fainting
  • Inability to empty your bladder
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