Laparoscopic surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery or “keyhole surgery,” is a technique used in the abdominal and pelvic areas. It involves using a laparoscope, a thin telescopic rod with a camera at the end, to visualize the inside of the body without needing a large incision. Instead of the 6- to 12-inch cut required in open abdominal surgery, laparoscopic surgery employs two to four small incisions, each half an inch or less in size. One incision is for the camera, while the others are for the surgical instruments. This minimally invasive approach allows quicker recovery, less pain, and reduced scarring compared to traditional open surgery.

Who performs laparoscopic surgery?

laparoscopic surgery is performed by qualified surgeons who have received specialized training in minimally invasive surgical techniques. These surgeons are often referred to as “laparoscopic surgeons” or “minimally invasive surgeons.” They can come from various surgical specialties, depending on the type of procedure and the medical condition being treated.  Some of the common specialties that perform laparoscopic surgery include general surgeons, gynecologists, urologists, gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, and hepatobiliary surgeons.

What surgeries are performed laparoscopically?

Laparoscopic surgery is commonly performed after a medical condition has been diagnosed and surgical intervention is deemed necessary. It is used for various therapeutic purposes across different specialties. Some common ones are:

  • Gallbladder removal (Cholecystectomy): For gallstones and gallbladder-related conditions.
  • Appendectomy: For inflamed or infected appendix removal.
  • Gynecological procedures: For gynecological conditions such as hysterectomy, ovarian cyst removal, and treatment of endometriosis.
  • Bariatric surgery: For weight loss procedures like gastric bypass surgery.
  • Gastrointestinal surgeries: For conditions related to the digestive system, including gallbladder removal and hernia repair.
  • Hepatobiliary surgeries: For liver and bile duct conditions, may use laparoscopy for specific liver surgeries.
  • Urology surgeries: For various urological conditions, including kidney surgeries and prostate surgeries.

What happens during a laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is usually done in a hospital or an outpatient clinic.

Before procedure

The patient typically consults with a surgeon who specializes in a specific surgical procedure. The surgeon reviews the diagnosis, discusses treatment options, and, if appropriate, recommends laparoscopic surgery.

The patient is provided with information about the surgical procedure, including its purpose, potential risks and benefits, alternatives, and the expected outcome. Informed consent is obtained from the patient after they have a clear understanding of the procedure and voluntarily agree to undergo it.

Prior to the surgery, the patient may be asked to follow specific preoperative instructions, such as fasting, discontinuing certain medications, or undergoing additional tests.

During procedure

The patient will be asked to wear a hospital gown and lie on an operating table during the laparoscopy procedure. Typically, general anesthesia, is administered through an intravenous (IV) line or a gas mask to make them sleep throughout the surgery.

The surgeon will make a small incision near the belly button to begin the laparoscopy. Carbon dioxide gas will be gently pumped into the abdomen to create space between organs, making it easier to visualize them. The laparoscope, equipped with a small camera, will then be inserted through the incision to examine organs and glands on a computer screen.

If additional procedures, like a biopsy, are required, the surgeon may make more small incisions to introduce surgical tools. Once the procedure is complete, the surgical tools and most of the gas will be removed from the body, and the small incisions will be closed and bandaged.

After surgery

Following the surgery, the patient is taken to a recovery room, where their condition is monitored. In many cases, the patient will be able to return home after a few hours, but the duration may vary depending on the specific procedures performed during the laparoscopy. Before discharge, the patient is provided detailed instructions about what to expect during the next few days at home. These instructions help understand how to take care of the patient and what activities to be avoided during recovery.

While laparoscopic surgery is generally safe, like any medical procedure, it carries some risks. Potential complications may include infection, bleeding, organ injury, and risks associated with anesthesia. The surgeon will discuss these risks before the procedure.

For personalized information and to assess if laparoscopic surgery suits the medical condition, consult the doctor.


  1. Laparoscopy (Keyhole surgery). Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/laparoscopy/
  2. Laparoscopic surgery. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22552-laparoscopic-surgery
  3. Laparoscopy.  Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/laparoscopy/

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