Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopy is also called "key-hole surgery" and is a form of minimal access surgery. It involves performing operations that are traditionally done by the "open" method using "key holes". A number of urological operations are now being done by this method. In recent years it has been shown to be safe and effective and for some urological procedures such as nephrectomy (removal of kidney) it is the "new gold standard" [ref].

Laparoscopic procedures in urology are performed under general anaesthesia. They involve using a number of "ports" or small holes. Sometimes a special port that facilitates introduction of a surgeon's hand may also be used. The length of time taken to perform the surgery varies between procedures but recovery afterwards is usually quicker than in open surgery.

Advantages:
1. Avoids open surgery and large scars
2. Less blood loss
3. Less pain
4. Quicker recovery
5. Earlier return to work

As with any operations there are a few risks:
1. Bleeding
2. Damage to neighbouring structures
3. Embolus formation, cabon dioxide leakage and shoulder-tip pain
4. Port-site hernia and numbness at these entry sites
5. Conversion to open surgery

Ref: Laparoscopic nephrectomy: the new gold standard? Raghuram, Godbole, Dasgupta P. 2005
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