Going in for a medical procedure or operation is never pleasant, but what a difference keyhole surgery has made. This is when a surgeon makes only a very small cut to gain access to the inside of the body rather than a major incision.
Using keyhole surgery can result in less pain and trauma plus greatly reduced recovery times and scarring. The procedure is also known as laparoscopy, named after the laparoscope, one of the specialised tools involved in the technique.
The main tool for keyhole surgery is a special viewing instrument called an endoscope. This has a powerful light on the end and also a tiny but highly efficient camera which sends back images from inside the body straight to a television monitor. Endoscopes come in different sizes and shapes and can also be rigid or flexible. Through the endoscope the surgeon and operating team can watch the monitor and see closely what they are doing within the body from the images relayed back from the camera.
Another incision or two is usually made so that miniature surgical instruments can be passed through to carry out the procedure.
By viewing the inside of the body and what is being done on the external monitor, surgeons can work with enormous accuracy.
Keyhole surgery is now also invaluable as a diagnostic tool. While non-invasive methods such as ultrasounds and MRI scans are immensely useful, sometimes a more detailed examination is needed to confirm a diagnosis. This is when keyhole comes in. With this technique, a doctor can see clearly inside the body for a wider and much more detailed examination.
As the technology develops and professionals become more adapt at using the equipment, the techniques are being used in a very diverse range of conditions. The procedure is especially useful to examine the abdomen and pelvic regions and also for gynaecological purposes and conditions that affect the digestive system. It is also used for removing damaged or diseased organs such as an appendix and they can also be used when a biopsy is required.
Today keyhole surgery is very common and is also very safe. Complications do not happen very often and serious complications are estimated to be around 1 in every 1000 cases. The main risks are damage to organs or a possible injury to a major artery, but this really is very rare.
Earlier this year a development of keyhole surgery was announced with the introduction of 3D technology and robotics. This gives even clearer imaging and greater depth of picture plus facilitates an improved rotation of instruments.
At our age, we sometimes complain about the intrusion of so much technology in our lives, but with the great benefits keyhole surgery, this is one area where we should all be thankful.
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