The introduction of laparoscopic removal of the gall bladder (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) in the late 1980s revolutionized the surgical management of many abdominal operations. It was obvious to both the patient and the surgeon that hospitalizations were much shorter, intestinal function returned much faster, patients had much less discomfort and they returned to work and normal physical activities much quicker. It was only the delay in the development of proper instruments that prevented Colon and Rectal Surgeons from performing laparoscopic intestinal surgery until 1991.
With patients asleep under a general anesthetic, Carbon Dioxide gas is used to distend the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. Several cylindrical “Ports” that are 1/2 inch in diameter are placed in the abdominal wall. Surgical instruments are then placed through the ports in order to detach the intestine from its supporting structures. One of the port sites is enlarged to remove the diseased intestine. Intestinal continuity is then restored using special surgical staplers.
Drs. Launer, Worsey and Salganick have performed several hundred laparoscopic intestinal operations for the treatment of Diverticulosis , Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease ), Rectal Prolapse and Cancer . Hospitalization for most laparoscopic operations is 2.5 days (as opposed to 5-10 days for conventional surgery) and most patients return to normal activities within two weeks.