General surgery is frequently performed to alleviate suffering when a cure is unlikely to be achieved through medication alone. General Surgery also includes routine and simple procedures performed in a physician's office, as vasectomy, or for more complicated operative procedures requiring a skilled medical team in a proper hospital setting, such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder).
Areas of the body treated by general surgery include the stomach, liver, intestines, appendix, breasts, thyroid gland, salivary glands, some arteries and veins, and the skin. The brain, heart, lungs, eyes, feet, kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs, to name only a few, are areas that require specialized surgical repair.
Laparoscopic surgery, also called Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), Keyhole surgery, or Pinhole surgery. This is a modern surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions (usually 0.5-1.5cm) as compared to larger incisions needed in traditional surgical procedures. Laparoscopic surgery includes operations within the abdominal or pelvic cavities, whereas keyhole surgery performed on the thoracic or chest cavity is called thoracoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery belong to the broader field of endoscopy.
There are a number of advantages to the patient with laparoscopic surgery versus an open procedure. These include:
Reduced blood loss, which reduces the risk of needing a blood transfusion.
Smaller incision, which reduces pain and shortens recovery time.
Less pain, leading to less pain medication needed.
Although procedure times are usually slightly longer, hospital stay is less, and often with a same day discharge which leads to a faster return to everyday living.
Reduced exposure of internal organs to possible external contaminants thereby reduced risk of acquiring infections.
The process of minimally invasive surgery has been augmented by specialized tools for decades. However, in recent years, electronic tools have been developed to aid surgeons. Some of the features include:
Visual magnification - use of a large viewing screen improves visibility.
Stabilization - Electromechanical damping of vibrations, due to machinery or shaky human hands.
Simulators - use of specialized virtual reality training tools to improve physicians' proficiency in surgery.
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