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Services: Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is performed through smaller incisions rather than larger incisions needed in traditional surgical procedures. The incisions typically measure 0.5 to 1.5 cm. Laparoscopic surgery includes operations within the abdominal or pelvic cavities.

What are the benefits of laparoscopic surgery?

  • Shorter recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker return to normal daily activities and work
  • Less pain
  • Less use of pain medicine
  • Three small scars instead of one large abdominal scar
  • Better cosmetic outcome
  • Less incidence of incisional hernia
  • Less incidence of adhesions

Like other minimally invasive procedures, a telescope with a video camera is passed through a small incision into the body. The images are projected onto a monitor in the operating room to give surgeons a view into the body. Other small incisions are made to perform the operation using special instruments.

The University of Florida surgeons at UF Health Jacksonville specialize in a number of laparoscopic surgical procedures, including:


Laparoscopic Adrenal Gland Surgery (Adrenalectomy)

The adrenal glands are two small glands located in the back of the abdomen above each kidney. They produce a variety of hormones that are essential to maintaining normal function of the body: aldosterone, cortisol, sex hormones and catecholamines.

An adrenalectomy (removal of the adrenal glands) may be performed when a patient has tumors (hyperaldosteronism, Cushing syndrome, pheochromocytoma) producing excess hormones, tumors more than 4 cm in diameter, rapidly growing tumors, abnormal-looking tumors, metastatic tumors or adrenocortical cancer.

A laparoscope attached to a video camera is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen just below the rib cage. The view of the procedure is projected onto video monitors in the operating room. The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide to allow the surgeon to have a better view of the area being operated on.

Two or three smaller incisions are made and other laparoscopic instruments are inserted into the abdomen to remove the adrenal gland. The incisions are closed with sutures and covered with adhesive bandages.

Most patients can expect to stay in the hospital for one day. Recovery time is approximately one to two weeks.

Not all adrenal tumors are suitable for laparoscopic surgery. Patients with very large tumors (more than 10-15 cm), or in whom a primary adrenal cancer is suspected, are not suitable for the laparoscopic procedure and should undergo open surgery. Patients undergoing open adrenalectomy often remain in the hospital for a few days after the operation.


Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery

Colorectal conditions are associated with the colon and rectum, the lower part of the digestive system. The following colorectal conditions are treated laparoscopically:

  • Bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis (ulcers and abscesses in the bowel) and Crohn's disease
  • Colon cancer, colon motility problems (when colon muscles do not contract normally) and removal of colon polyps (abnormal growths)
  • Laparoscopic surgery can be used to establish a colostomy when certain conditions require it. The colon is attached to the skin surface where waste is expelled through the opening into a bag instead of through the original rectum). Colostomy reversal can also be done.
  • Diverticular disease (very small pouches or pockets in the bowel)
  • Rectal prolapse (part of the rectum protrudes from anus)

Laparoscopic Esophageal Surgery

The esophagus is the passageway that connects the mouth and stomach. Our physicians can help patients with the following conditions:

  • Acid reflux disease correction to allow food to pass through the connection of the stomach and esophagus, also known as Heller's myotomy for achalasia
  • Hernia of the esophagus (see laparoscopic hernia surgery section)
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Diverticular disease of the esophagus
  • Motility disorders, including inability to swallow correctly, chronic regurgitation and spasms of the esophagus

Laparoscopic Gallbladder and Biliary Surgery

The gallbladder is part of the digestive system that holds the bile made in the liver. Bile is a fluid used in digestion that breaks down food. Gallstones are formed when the bile crystallizes. These stones often cause obstructions that must be corrected. The following procedures are performed:

  • Removal of the gallbladder, also known as a cholecystectomy
  • Exploration and removal of obstructions of the bile ducts
  • Correction of the connection between the bile duct and part of the small intestine, also known as a choledochojejunostomy or choledochoduodenostomy, to allow drainage

Laparoscopic Hernia Surgery

A hernia is a protrusion of an organ or tissue through a weakness or a defect in the muscle wall. The protrusion creates a bulge that is usually apparent upon standing up, coughing or doing strenuous work, such as lifting or pushing heavy objects. The hernia tends to disappear upon lying down, but may persist, particularly if it is large in size. Hernias can develop around the umbilicus (belly button), in the groin or any place where the patient may have had a previous surgical incision. Some hernias develop slowly, others suddenly. Some hernias are present at birth. The following hernias are repaired laparoscopically:

  • Groin hernia
  • Hernias at and above the navel, known as umbilical and epigastric hernias, respectively
  • Incisional hernia occurring at the site of an old surgical incision
  • Hernia of the diaphragm (the tissue that separates the abdomen from the thoracic area)

Laparoscopic Kidney Donation

The removal of a donated kidney is called laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. The kidney is removed laparoscopically and then immediately transplanted into the recipient. Recovery time after laparoscopic kidney donation is significantly shorter than after traditional open surgery. Most donors can return to work in as little as two weeks. Through this minimally-invasive approach, the donor's discomfort and scarring are also reduced.


Laparoscopic Liver Surgery

The liver helps with digestion, metabolism and cleansing of the blood. The following procedures are available through laparoscopy:

  • Liver biopsies to assist in the diagnosis of diseases
  • Surgical removal of liver cysts and cancerous tumors
  • Radiofrequency ablation, a technique using electrodes and heat to kill the unwanted tissue

Laparoscopic Pancreatic Surgery

The pancreas produces fluids that help with digestion and absorption of food. The following pancreatic surgical procedures are performed laparoscopically:

  • Removal of all or part of the pancreas
  • Removal of tumors and cysts in the pancreas
  • Whipple operation, in which several parts of the gastrointestinal system, including part of the pancreas, are removed for the treatment of cancer

Laparoscopic Small Bowel Surgery

The small bowel is often referred to as the small intestine and runs from the stomach to the colon. The following small bowel surgical procedures are performed laparoscopically:

  • Ileostomy (a connection from small bowel to abdominal skin surface, also known as a K-pouch)
  • Jejunostomy tube insertion (a tube that passes through the abdominal wall to part of the small bowel through which nutrition is provided)
  • Removal of cancerous and noncancerous lesions and obstructions

Laparoscopic Spleen Surgery (Splenectomy)

The spleen is an organ approximately the size of the fist that sits in the upper left part of the abdomen just under the diaphragm and behind the stomach. The spleen removes bacteria as well as dead and dying blood cells from the body, creates and stores new red blood cells, and assists in fighting certain types of infections.

The spleen may need to be removed in any of following diseases: acute and chronic leukemia, cysts, primary splenic thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), primary splenic neutropenia, Felty's syndrome, Banti's disease, congestive splenomegaly, splenic tumors, splenic artery aneurysms, lymphomas, thrombolytic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), HIV splenomegaly, splenomegaly, splenocytosis, or a variety of anemias.

To perform a laparoscopic splenectomy, a laparoscope attached to a video camera is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen just below the rib cage. The view of the procedure is projected onto video monitors located in the operating room. The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide to allow the surgeon to have a better view of the area being operated on.

Two or three smaller incisions are made and other laparoscopic instruments are inserted into the abdomen to remove the spleen. The incisions are closed with sutures and covered with adhesive bandages.

Most patients can expect to stay in the hospital for one day. Recovery time is approximately one to two weeks.


Laparoscopic Stomach Surgery

The division performs many types of stomach surgery, also know as gastric surgery:

  • Gastrostomy (surgical insertion of a tube into the stomach)
  • Insertion of gastric pacemakers for patients with gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach)
  • Removal of all or part of the stomach
  • Removal of benign or cancerous tumors of the stomach
  • Repair of stomach ulcers and related diseases
  • Gastric bypass (weight-reduction surgery in which the stomach is made smaller and part of the intestine is bypassed)
  • Biliary bypass


What to Expect

The most common preoperative diagnostic studies include needle biopsies, upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopies and a variety of imaging studies, including a CT scan, MRI and ultrasound.

There is minimal risk in the evaluation process. Some diagnostic procedures and evaluations require no eating for 12 hours before the testing. Your physician will go over any pretest instructions. Upon completion of the studies, an appointment will be made for the patient to meet with the physician to discuss the test results.

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