Laparoscopy (pronounced "lap-a-ROSS-coe-pee") is a surgical procedure performed through very small incisions in the abdomen, using specialized instruments. A pencil-thin instrument called a laparoscope is used, and it gives the surgeon an exceptionally clear view, on a TV monitor, of the inside of the abdominal cavity.
A laparoscope has lenses like a telescope to magnify body structures, a powerful light to illuminate them, and a miniature video camera. The camera sends images of the inside of the body to a TV monitor in the operating room. Specialized surgical instruments can be inserted through the laparoscope, and through small incisions nearby.
This type of surgery is called 'minimally invasive' because of the very small incisions used. Yet major procedures can now be performed using this technique. The term laparoscopy is used when this type of surgery is performed in the abdomen. It's called arthroscopy when performed in a joint, and endoscopy when done through a natural opening in the body, such as the mouth or nose.
- "Laparo" comes from a Greek word meaning "flank," which is the side of the body between the ribs and hips. Doctors use this term to refer to the abdomen. The term "scope" means to look at or examine.
- Many procedures once done through a large opening in the abdomen can now be done with the small incisions of laparoscopy.
- Laparoscopy has become the preferred surgical technique for some conditions, such as gallbladder disease.
Facts About Laparoscopy