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Laparoscopic Surgery For Gastrointestinal Problems - The Benefits!

Dr. Ashish Pitale 90% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FRCS - General Surgery , Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery
General Surgeon, Delhi  •  27 years experience
Laparoscopic Surgery For Gastrointestinal Problems - The Benefits!

Laparoscopy is an advanced surgical technique that is often used to find out and treat any abnormalities or a myriad of medical complications such as an infection, ectopic pregnancy (a condition where the embryo attaches itself to an organ other than the uterus), cyst, fibroids, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease. Laparoscopy comes in handy in the case of an accident or an injury where it helps in the detection of any damages to the internal organs. There are instances where laparoscopy is even used in a biopsy (to collect the tissue sample).

The technique involves a small incision, often in the belly, through which a lighted tube, called a laparoscope, is inserted into the abdomen to analyze or treat the problem. The technique is quite hassle-free, causing minimum discomfort to the patient. In fact, there are so many associated benefits that more and more people are choosing laparoscopy over other surgical techniques and open surgery.  In this regard, some of the advantages of laparoscopy that deserves a special mention are as follows:

  1. Involves a smaller incision: Most of the surgical procedures, including open surgery, can be quite messy. The laparoscopic technique is simple, minimally invasive, and involves an incision which is 1.2 inch or less.
  2. Quick recovery with lesser chances of an infection: In surgeries involving a large cut, there is a high probability of infection at the incision site, leading to complications and delaying the recovery and healing process. In laparoscopy, with a small incision, chances of an infection or associated complications are almost negligible. An infection-free surgery will heal at a faster rate, ensuring a quick recovery.
  3. The USP of Laparoscopy lies in the fact that the procedure is less painful (since the procedure involves a small cut with reduced loss of blood) as compared to many of the other surgical techniques. In some of the surgeries (including an open surgery), there may be profuse bleeding with the patient even requiring a blood transfusion. Such complications are unheard of in the case of a Laparoscopic surgery. In fact, patients undergoing a laparoscopy are often required to spend a lesser time in the hospital.
  4. Negligible chances of a wrong diagnosis: PCOS or endometriosis can be a contributing factor, triggering infertility in women. In females with fertility issues, an accurate diagnosis can go a long way to treat the condition better. The symptoms and complications associated with PCO or endometriosis can be alleviated if diagnosed early and accurately. Laparoscopy, in the majority of the cases, ensures an accurate diagnosis, making the treatment effective.

Most of the surgical treatments such as an open surgery can leave a huge hole in your pocket. Laparoscopy, though effective, is not very expensive, making it a highly affordable surgical treatment.

Laparoscopic Surgery for Gastrointestinal Problems

The Laparoscopy surgery is often advised to treat a myriad of gastrointestinal problems such as Diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, Familial polyposis, Colorectal Cancer, Ulcerative Colitis. The Laparoscopy surgery may also be helpful in the case of severe constipation, bowel incontinence (a condition where a person fails to control the bowel movements) or a rectal prolapse.

As with most laparoscopic surgeries, the procedure involves the surgeon to make few (usually 3 and more) incisions in the abdomen. With the stomach inflated with carbon dioxide gas (to view the diseased organs better), a laparoscope and the surgical instruments are then placed into the stomach via the incisions to perform the surgery. The different laparoscopic surgeries of the intestine to treat the gastrointestinal disorders include:

  1. Abdominoperineal Resection: In people with cancer affecting the anus or the lower part of the rectum, a surgeon may perform the Abdominoperineal Resection to get rid of the rectum, anus as well as the sigmoid colon. With the removal of the rectum and the anus, the surgeon creates a colostomy (an arrangement to connect the healthy end of the colon to the anterior wall of the abdomen through an incision) to eliminate the waste and the fecal matter out of the body. 
  2. Proctosigmoidectomy: In people suffering from Diverticulitis (an inflammation or infection of the diverticula) and polyps (both cancerous as well nonmalignant growths), a Proctosigmoidectomy may be carried out to excise (complete or partial removal depending on the severity of the case) the affected part of the sigmoid colon or the rectum.
  3. Total abdominal colectomy: This laparoscopic surgery is used to treat conditions of Crohn's disease  (an inflammatory bowel disease that causes abdominal pain and a host of associated symptoms), Ulcerative colitis (severe inflammation of the colon), or Familial polyposis (a condition that triggers the formation of many colon polyps). Total abdominal colectomy involves the surgical removal of the large intestine (usually from lower part of the ileum to the rectum which is then followed by the stitching the end of the ileum and the rectum together).
  4. Right colectomy: As the name suggests, Right Colectomy, also termed as Ileocolectomy involves the surgical removal of the right side of the colon or the large intestine. The excision also includes the end part of the small intestine (attached to the right side of the colon). The Right Colectomy is used to treat cancer, the symptoms associated with Crohn's disease as well as the polyps.
  5. Rectopexy: In the case of a rectal prolapse, where the rectum protrudes out of its original place, a rectopexy goes a long way to stitch the rectum to its original position.
  6. Total proctocolectomy: This is a laparoscopic surgery to remove the large intestine, the rectum and the anus (the anus may or not be removed depending on the severity). People with inflammatory problems of the colon such as Crohn's disease or  Ulcerative colitis benefit immensely from total proctocolectomy. The surgery may be followed by a temporary ileostomy (in the case the anus is removed or damaged, a permanent ileostomy may be needed) to eliminate the wastes out of the body.

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