Laparoscopic Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

Laparoscopy (also called-Keyhole Surgery or Minimally invasive surgery) is a modern surgical technique.

The entire abdomen pelvis, uterus and ovaries are visualised on a high definition TV screen via 3-4 very small incisions and the use of specialised instruments and a tiny camera. This technique allows all manner of procedures to be performed without the need for a large skin incision and minimal handling of tissues.

Virtually any procedure that has been done as an open or conventional operation previously can now be done laparoscopically (and these are all available at Greenslopes Specialist Gynaecology) including Hysterectomy, ovarian cysts, fibroid removal, treatment of endometriosis, treatment of adhesions, Uterine and cervical cancer treatments including lymph node assessment, some ovarian cancers. There are still times that an open (laparotomy) procedure may be necessary for a variety of reasons which Dr Land will discuss with you, however a majority of cases are treated very successfully with the laparoscopic approach. Prior surgery and obesity are not contraindications for laparoscopic surgery.

The Major advantage to this type of surgery is that recovery times are shortened considerably with less pain, less blood loss and complications such as wound infection with an earlier return to normal function and quality of life. The cosmetic advantage is very evident as there is minimal scarring.

The procedure may take between 30 minutes for a simple diagnostic procedure up to 3 hours for a complicated cervical cancer procedure or major resection of endometriosis/adhesions. An average total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy procedure takes around 60 – 90 minutes with a total hospital stay of just 1-2 days post operatively.

With all types of surgery there is a risk involved however the laparoscopic approach compares very favourably to the open approach. Your individual circumstances including history/ examination and imaging will be evaluated by Dr Land and a preoperative discussion will outline possible complications and risk factors for your particular procedure. There is always a small chance that unforeseen circumstances may dictate that your procedure requires an open approach but this is very uncommon and occurs in < 1% of cases that are planned to proceed laparoscopically.

Generally after open surgery patients are encouraged to refrain from driving for a minimum of 4 weeks. After Laparoscopic surgery depending on what you have had done you may be able to drive within a couple of days providing you are not taking any strong pain killers and can comfortably use all foot pedals/gear sticks and mirrors. Please consult you insurer if you have any doubts.

I generally use sutures (stitches) which are not visible and do not require removal.  Sometimes the ends of the sutures may be visible through the incision line up to a couple of weeks following the procedure.  These will generally dissolve and fall away by themselves. If the wounds or any other part of the suture material is bothering you please contact the rooms or your local GP for review.  Most laparoscopic incisions are now dressed with a skin glue and this just washes off itself over the course of 10-14 days. You are able to get this wet in the shower immediately after discharge from hospital.