How keyhole surgery works

Posted on 2017/06/22 by Dr. Anthony Vine

Our bodies are extremely fragile, and there are countless ways in which we can become injured or ill. While most doctors make every effort to treat medical conditions without invasive surgery, there are many occasions when surgery is inevitable.

Whether it is to repair, replace, or restore, when other treatment methods fail, most surgeons have no choice but to refer to surgery to alleviate the patient’s symptoms and treat the root cause of the problem.

Over the years, innovations in surgery have made it safer than ever before. However, depending on the nature of the surgery, many will still have a significant recovery period, during which time the patient may find themselves needing to rest, in pain, or otherwise negatively affected. 

Thankfully, an increasing number of surgeries can now be performed laparoscopically, including surgeries for:

  • Obesity
  • Colon conditions
  • Hernia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Restorative proctocolectomy
  • Gastrointestinal malignancies
  • Some tumors
  • Achalasia
  • Groin pain
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • GERD
  • Diverticulitis
  • Gallstones


What is laparoscopic surgery?

Also known as keyhole surgery, laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that allows a surgeon to perform the necessary treatment without the need for a large incision. 

How does keyhole surgery work?

Many people wonder exactly how keyhole surgery works. After all, a surgeon can’t possibly perform surgery through such a small incision, can they?

It might surprise you to know that one of the main reasons that large incisions are made in conventional surgery is to allow the surgeon to take a thorough look around the operation area.

Every surgery has risks, but some are greater than others. Although imaging such as x-rays and ultrasounds can tell us some information about what is happening inside the body, by being able to adequately and accurately assess the area first hand, the surgeon has the knowledge necessary to make sure the surgery is as safe as possible.

Keyhole surgery uses an instrument called a laparoscope. It is a small, narrow tube that has both a light source and a camera on it, which illuminates and feeds back images of inside the body to a screen in the operating room. The size of the laparoscope means that it can be fed into the body through a small, keyhole-sized incision. 

As well as being a diagnostic tool, the laparoscope also makes it possible for surgeons to perform some types of surgery through the same incision. Narrow, surgical tools can be inserted through small incisions into the area, while the camera feeds back the images so that the surgery can be performed accurately, and just as if the surgeon were seeing it with his own eyes.

Keyhole surgery is generally carried out under a general anesthetic, meaning that you will not be in any pain during the procedure, or have any recollection of the procedure.

What are the benefits of keyhole surgery?

By far the biggest benefit of keyhole surgery is the fact that the incisions required are so much smaller. Patients who are required to stay in hospital after their surgery are often allowed home much faster. The smaller incisions also reduces the risk of complications, and shortens the recovery time after the surgery.

Another key benefit to choosing keyhole surgery is the reduced amount of scarring experienced, due to the smaller incisions. This is particularly important if the surgery is being carried out in an obvious, prominent place on your body. 


To find out more about how keyhole surgery works, or the advantages of this minimally-invasive treatment, make an appointment with our experienced laparoscopic surgeons in New York today. Call 646-859-1400. 

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