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Laparoscopic GI Surgery

What is laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopy is an advanced surgical technique that allows the surgeon to look into the abdomen via a 5 or 10 mm telescope called a laparoscope. Major abdominal surgery can be performed using laparoscopic techniques, through tiny cuts that are typically 3 to 5 mm in size.

What are Gastrointestinal disorders?

Your digestive system is an intricate structure that can be disrupted by diet, diseases, and/or emotional stress. Any disease or disorder involving the digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal tract, is known as a gastrointestinal disorder. Therefore, any problem with your stomach, esophagus, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and rectum, requires a gastro specialist. Typically, such digestive complications include constipation, hemorrhoids, fissures, irritable bowel syndrome, perineal abscesses, anal fistulas, colitis, etc.

Causes of gastrointestinal disorders

Gastrointestinal disorders are caused by several reasons such as viral or bacterial infection, lactase deficiency, inflammation, poor blood circulation to the intestine or other digestive organs, difficulty in digesting certain types of foods, gallstones, muscle dysfunction, etc. However, most of these disorders can be prevented or at least minimized by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, submitting to regular cancer screenings, or practicing good bowel habits.

Types of gastrointestinal disorders

There are several types of gastrointestinal disorders, ranging from mild to severe, that can hamper your health. Such disorders can be diagnosed through specific medical procedures such as colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, upper GI endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, etc. Some of the commonly occurring gastrointestinal disorders are:
• Stomach problems such as gastric ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer.
• Gallstone disease, cholangitis, and cholecystitis.
• Esophagus problems such as esophagitis, stricture, and achalasia.
• Rectal disorders such as hemorrhoids, fissures, rectal prolapse, and proctitis.
• Issues with the pancreas such as pancreatic pseudocyst and pancreatitis.
• Liver problems such as cirrhosis, hepatitis C or hepatitis B, autoimmune, liver failure, alcoholic hepatitis, and simple liver cyst.
• GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), peptic ulcer, and hiatal hernia.
• Problem with the intestines such as celiac disease, intestinal infections, Crohn disease, polyps and cancer, ulcerative colitis, malabsorption, diverticulitis, intestinal ischemia, and short bowel syndrome.

Gastrointestinal surgery

While some problems related to the digestive system can be treated with medicine and lifestyle changes, others require a surgical intervention. A surgery that serves as a treatment for diseases associated with your digestive tract is called gastrointestinal surgery. This type of surgery aims at removing a cancerous or a non-cancerous growth from your digestive tract or rectifying a damaged part of the gastrointestinal tract. Generally, gastrointestinal surgery is divided into two categories; upper GI surgery and lower GI surgery. The upper GI surgery focuses on the upper parts of the digestive tract such as the stomach, esophagus, liver, pancreas, and gall bladder. The lower GI surgery is relevant to lower parts of the digestive tract such as the small intestine, the colon, the rectum, etc. On the basis of the surgical approach, gastrointestinal procedures are further divided into two types; laparoscopic surgery and open GI surgery.

Laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery:

One of the most popular types of gastrointestinal surgeries, laparoscopic GI surgery is based on the science of laparoscopy. Let’s understand what is laparoscopy and how it can help you overcome digestive problems. Laparoscopic surgery procedure is an advanced surgical technique, which can be performed through multiple cuts in the abdomen (which vary from 5 mm to 12 mm) or a single cut of in the navel (single incision laparoscopic surgery). It is performed by making small incisions (about 3-5mm in size) in your abdomen and inserting a long, thin tube with a tiny camera attached to its tip. The camera guides the surgeon by capturing live visuals of the insides of your body. The laparoscopic approach to gastrointestinal surgery has gained much importance in the recent past because of the convenience it offers to both, the patients and the surgeons. Firstly, laparoscopic abdominal surgery is known to reduce post-operative pain and the risk of infections. Secondly, since the laparoscopic surgery recovery time is shorter in comparison to open surgery, you will have a shorter hospital stay and a quick comeback.

Types of Laparoscopic Surgery

Digestive system image
Digestive system image
Digestive system image
Digestive system image
Digestive system image
Digestive system image
Digestive system image


Here’s What Others Had To Say…

Open Surgery vs Laparoscopic Surgery

While each surgery approach has its own set of pros and cons, the laparoscopic surgery is the most preferred over open surgery for the following reasons:

Surgeons make tiny incisions (or cuts) about 3-5 cms in size to insert a long, thin tube attached with a camera at its tip. It requires a long incision, about 3-4 inches in size, for the surgeon to insert instruments and visualize the procedure through the incision.
Lesser pain due to smaller incisions. Blood loss is lesser due to increased magnification provided by the laparoscope Increased pain due to larger wounds. Greater blood loss due to lack of magnification.
Smaller incisions reduce the risk of infections. Large open wounds increase your susceptibility to infections.
Small wounds take less time to heal. Thus, the recovery period is fast. Large wounds take more time to heal. Thus, the recovery period is slow.
This type of surgery requires shorter hospital stay due to faster recovery. Open surgery may require an extended hospital stay due to the slow recovery process.


For what surgical procedures can laparoscopy be used?

Most gastrointestinal surgeries can be performed using laparoscopy technology including ulcerative colitis, rectal prolapse, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, cancer, etc. In the past, laparoscopic surgery wasn’t considered the best option for treating cancer patients due to questions raised concerning the safety of the procedure. However, recently, several studies have shown that laparoscopy is a safe approach for cancer patients.

What problems can laparoscopy be used to diagnose and treat?

Laparoscopy can be used to identify and diagnose various gastrointestinal disorders, especially when non-invasive methods such as ultrasound, MRI scan, CT scan, etc. have failed. Laparoscopy provides enough information or insight into a diagnosis. Alternatively, it can also be used to take a tissue sample or a biopsy from a specific organ in the abdomen such as the appendix, the liver, the gall bladder, the stomach, the pancreas, etc.

What is normal recovery time after laparoscopic surgery?

The recovery time after laparoscopy is different for every patient as it depends upon several factors such as the reason for the procedure, the patient’s body parameters and the level of his/her complications if any. Generally, if the procedure was done for the purpose of diagnosis, you will be able to resume your routine within 4 -5 days. However, if laparoscopy is done for treating a certain condition, then the recovery time depends upon the type of treatment. For minor surgeries, the recovery may take about 3 weeks, while for major surgeries you will be able to resume your normal activities only after about 12 weeks.

How safe is laparoscopic surgery?

Even though laparoscopy is more convenient for the patient and the surgeon in comparison to open surgery, there are some risk factors that may affect you. Typically, these risk factors are the side effects of laparoscopic surgery such as bleeding, damage to internal tissues, infection, etc. Therefore, no sooner you experience any fever or chills, abnormal abdominal pain, constant nausea, breathlessness, swelling or redness, lightheadedness, etc. you must contact your doctor to avoid any consequences. Even though the procedure is safe for most patients, you must learn about the side effects of laparoscopic surgery and take the necessary precautions. However, for patients who have undergone prior abdominal surgeries, the laparoscopic approach may turn out to be more risky than beneficial. Thus, you must always consult your doctor before choosing any surgical procedure.