How does Laparoscopic surgery work?
In order to gain entry into the abdomen small incisions are made through the skin. The incisions range from 3mm to 12mm (0.11 to 0.5 inches) depending on what instruments are required to safely perform the procedure. On occasion one incision may have to be elongated to retrieve a specimen (i.e. gallbladder, colon, spleen).
Through the skin incisions a plastic/ metal tube or sleeve (referred to as a port or trocar) is introduced into the abdomen through the subcutaneous fat and muscle layers of the abdominal wall. Once entry has been achieved, the camera (laparoscope), instruments, blood vessel sealing devices, surgical staplers and a myriad of other tools can be exchanged with ease.
In order to create a “working space” the abdominal cavity is insufflated or distended with a non-toxic, non flammable gas (CO2) through one of the ports placed into the abdominal cavity. CO2 (carbon dioxide) is the end product of metabolism in all living organisms. In mammals, the overwhelming majority of CO2 is expelled through breathing and the kidneys. In fact, every time we exhale we are “blowing off” CO2. Almost all CO2 used during laparoscopy is absorbed and eliminated by our body within 48 hours.
Once access and exposure has been achieved the surgical procedure can begin and often follows the exact same steps and principles as the open procedure.