Laparoscopy (from Ancient Greek λαπάρα (lapara), meaning 'flank, side', and σκοπέω (skopeo), meaning 'to see') is an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis using small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm) with the aid of a camera. The laparoscope aids diagnosis or therapeutic interventions with a few small cuts in the abdomen.
Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery (MIS), bandaid surgery, or keyhole surgery, is a modern surgical technique. There are a number of advantages to the patient with laparoscopic surgery versus the more common, open procedure. These include reduced pain due to smaller incisions, reduced hemorrhaging and shorter recovery time. The key element is the use of a laparoscope, a long fiber optic cable system which allows viewing of the affected area by snaking the cable from a more distant, but more easily accessible location.
Laparoscopic surgery includes operations within the abdominal or pelvic cavities, whereas keyhole surgery performed on the thoracic or chest cavity is called thoracoscopic surgery. Specific surgical instruments used in a laparoscopic surgery include forceps, scissors, probes, dissectors, hooks, and retractors. Laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery belong to the broader field of endoscopy. The first laparoscopic procedure was performed by German surgeon Georg Kelling in 1901.
There are two types of laparoscope:
a telescopic rod lens system, usually connected to a video camera (single chip or three chip)
a digital laparoscope where a miniature digital video camera is placed at the end of the laparoscope, eliminating the rod lens system
The mechanism mentioned in the second type is mainly used to improve the image quality of flexible endoscopes, replacing traditional fiberscopes. Nevertheless, laparoscopes are rigid endoscopes. The rigidity is required in clinical practice. The rod-lens based laparoscopes dominate overwhelmingly in practice, due to their fine optical resolution (50 µm typically, dependent on the aperture size used in the objective lens), and the image quality can be better than that of the digital camera if necessary. The second type of laparoscope is very rare in the laparoscope market and in hospitals.