Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical technique in which short, narrow tubes (trochars) are inserted into the abdomen through small (less than one centimeter) incisions. Through these trochars, long, narrow instruments are inserted. The surgeon uses these instruments to manipulate, cut, and sew tissue.
Carbon dioxide gas is infused through one of the trochars into the patient's abdomen. This pushes the anterior abdominal wall upward, and makes room for the surgeon to work. A camera, inserted through one trochar, is linked to a video monitor. This allows the surgeon to view the abdominal contents.
Clamps, scissors, and sutures on the end of long, narrow instruments are inserted through the other trochar.
A number of different procedures can be performed laparoscopically, including gallbladder removal (laparoscopic cholecystectomy), esophageal surgery (laparoscopic fundoplication), colon surgery (laparoscopic colectomy), and surgery on the stomach and spleen. One advantage of laparoscopic surgery is that patients recover much more quickly than they do from standard surgery.