Laparoscopic Surgery and Keyhole Surgery
Keyhole surgery is the popular name for endoscopic surgery, a modern technique in which operations are performed through some small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm), through which specific endoscopes are threaded.
An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube, equipped with a light and a video camera that relays enlarged images to a computer screen. Endoscopes used in keyhole surgery have other tools that cut, cauterise or carry.
There are different endoscopes for various parts of the body. Keyhole surgery requires a laparoscope for surgery within the abdominal or pelvic cavities, or a thoracoscope for operating in the chest cavity.
The abdomen is usually blown up like a balloon with carbon dioxide gas, which is safe in the body, easily absorbed into tissues from where it eventually enters the lungs and is breathed out. The CO2 raises the abdominal wall to create room to work, which can be well lit.
Laparoscopic or keyhole nephrectomy is where a series of small incisions are made in your abdomen, through which the surgeon manipulates the tiny surgical instruments, removing the kidney (or part of it), bladder and lymph nodes as necessary by drawing them out through one of the holes.
The incisions are sealed with a single, dissolvable stitch, or a blob of glue.
The great advantages of laparoscopic surgery to the patient are that the smaller incisions make the operation less painful, there is less chance of haemorrhaging, and recovery is much faster.
Somerset Urology has specialist urologists specially trained and experienced in laparoscopic surgery.
NB: some types of kidney cancer may not be suitable for a laparoscopic nephrectomy.