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Laparoscopic (Keyhole) Liver Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is a more minimally invasive approach which involves the use of a lighted viewing tube called a laparoscope, introduced through a small incisions (keyholes) on your abdomen and can provide a well-illuminated and magnified view of the structures within. A miniature camera present inside the tube displays images on a high definition screens which guide your surgeon to perform operations. Special long thin instruments are inserted though other 5mm keyholes to act as the hands of the surgeon.

Laparoscopic surgery is mostly performed to treat gastrointestinal disorders which traditionally required large abdominal incisions. Laparoscopic surgery has been used for many years to remove the gallbladder from the liver, but recently is increasingly performed for surgery to the liver.    The types of surgery include

  • Resection of the liver: Removal of part of the liver along with a tumour
  • Removal of symptomatic liver cysts
  • Drainage of liver abscess

The advantages of laparoscopic surgery include smaller incisions, less bleeding, reduced postoperative pain and faster recovery

The main limitations of laparoscopic liver surgery are that if part of the liver is removed a tradition incision is often required to take out the specimen.  However, this can often be placed in a more cosmetically acceptable and less painful position.  It is also worth noting that most complex liver operations still require a traditional or open approach, which allows the surgeon better access and the ability to use his hands directly.