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Commonly known to the layperson as keyhole surgery, laparoscopy involves making small incisions (usually in the abdominal wall) and inserting instruments with long handles to view and manipulate at a distance.

Laparoscopic surgery is usually done under general anaesthetic. When abdominal surgery is done laparoscopically, the abdomen is usually insufflated with carbon dioxide gas to create space for the instruments to move around safely in.

Laparoscopic surgery is now routine for cholecystectomies (gall bladder removals) and is becoming increasingly used for various other operations too.

When laparoscopic cholecystectomies first became popular, all the old surgeons had to relearn their trade. Lots of mistakes were made by old men who were not used to viewing their actions remotely on a TV screen rather than by direct vision. Thankfully, those days have passed and laparoscopic surgery is now pretty safe and has a better recovery rate than open surgery.

Sputnik - don't be so hard on yourself, you've got ... erm ... a few facts right. :-)

The practice of inserting a medical instrument into a small incision for the purpose of examination or surgery. The first human laparoscopy was performed in 1910 by a Swede, Hans Christian Jacobaeus. As instrumentation has advanced, the potential uses for laparoscopy have multiplied. Video laparoscopy (using a tiny camera and fiber optic light source) debuted in 1987, and modern laparoscopes are performed using a robotic arm. A major advantage of laparoscopy is that the incisions used can be small enough that only local anaesthetic is needed.

(listen to Alex, not me - I'm kinda dumb)

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