Keyhole Surgery

Keyhole Surgery (also known as Minimally Invasive Surgery) is surgery performed using long thin instruments which are inserted into the body through very small incisions. Keyhole cuts are typically 5 – 10mm in length and replace the traditional laparotomy (open) cut which can extend over 30cm.

Surgery with this technique into the abdomen is called 'Laparoscopy' or Laparoscopic Surgery, and into the thorax (chest) is call ‘Thoracoscopy’ or Thoracoscopic Surgery.

The advantages of keyhole surgery in comparison to laparotomy include;

  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Reduced pain related complications
  • Shorter duration of hospital stay.
  • Reduced internal and external scarring
  • Quicker recovery and return to work
  • Aesthetically (cosmetically) more pleasing results

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery refers to keyhole surgery when performed in the abdomen. This is the standard technique for most surgeries including removal of the gallbladder, removal of the appendix, hiatus hernia repair and anti-reflux surgery and many other operations.

Although most surgeries performed by Melbourne Gastro Oesophageal Surgery are performed laparoscopically, you should speak with your surgeon about your specific situation.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed in a hospital operating room under general anaesthesia. The television camera attached to the laparoscope displays the image of the abdominal cavity on a television screen. The surgeon makes small incisions over the abdomen to insert instruments (keyholes) and the abdomen is inflated with CO2 gas. After completion CO2 gas is evacuated, trocars removed, incisions are closed and dressed with a sterile bandage.

Thoracoscopic Surgery

Keyhole Surgery can also be used for operations involving the chest. It can be especially useful in the chest, as operations requiring a full-size incision also often require a rib to be broken to gain adequate access. Surgery performed thoracoscopically by the Melbourne Gastro-Oesophageal Surgeons are related to diseases of the oesophagus.

The appropriateness of thoracoscopic surgery rather than a laparotomy depends on the surgical condition and your medical history. Your individual situation should be discussed with your surgeon.