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New York City
September 2001

Laparoscopic Surgery
The Technique

Video technology has entered the operating room in the form of laparoscopic surgery, a technique used to treat many abdominal conditions. The laparoscope, a tiny telescope attached to a miniature video camera, is passed through a port (a long, hollow cylinder) that is inserted into the patientís abdomen. The laparoscope gives the surgeon a magnified view of the abdominal cavity, which is projected on video monitors placed around the operating table.

Once the surgery is complete, all incisions are closed with sutures, staples or surgical tape. Laparoscopic surgery is becoming the surgical method of choice for these conditions because minimally invasive surgery almost always results in less post-operative pain, a more rapid recovery, lower wound infection rates and faster resumption of normal activities.

Fighting Colon Cancer

The advent of laparoscopic surgery has brought radical changes in the extent of colon resection surgery, a procedure performed on colon cancer patients. All medical authorities agree that early detection and surgical intervention, combined with

chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy if necessary, yield a vastly improved outlook for the full recovery from colon cancer.

The colon resection or colectomy surgery removes the tumor along with some adjacent healthy tissue and nearby lymph nodes, after which the remaining ends of the intestine are rejoined. Laparoscopic Colon Resection (LACR) requires fewer and smaller incisions than traditional open surgery. As a result, patients stay an average of three to five days in the hospital, compared to five to seven days with the open approach. They also experience less postoperative pain, a faster return to normal bowel function, more rapid resumption of diet and less scar tissue.

Preliminary results (with average follow-up of 39 months) from a randomized trial done in Barcelona, Spain have demonstrated that among Stage III colon cancer patients those who had laparoscopic surgery had significantly higher survival rates compared to those who underwent open surgery. The laparoscopic group also experienced a lower rate of tumor recurrence.

 

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