What is the difference between open surgery and laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery? Open surgery involves cutting a large 8cm to 10cm incision into the abdomen to expose the area of the body on which the operation is to be performed. Much of the postoperative pain is due to this large incision. As a result of this you often need to stay in hospital for five to seven days. In some cases you may also require up to six weeks of recovery before you are able to return to normal activities, such as, your usual occupation. In addition to the disruption to your family life and employment, open surgery also carries a bigger risk of adhesion and infections. This is due to the increased exposure of body tissue to the external environment that is necessary in open surgery. Open surgery still has a place for some cancer operations and very large pelvic masses.
Is there an alternative to Open Surgery?
Yes. The alternative is laparoscopic surgery or commonly referred to as keyhole surgery. Laparoscopic surgery requires specialised training, which not all gynaecologic surgeons have undertaken. Laparoscopic surgery or keyhole surgery eliminates the need for a large incision and is a safe and effective alternative to open surgery. This treatment is offered through the Dr Gary Swift Fertility Clinic on the Gold Coast. Dr Swift completed an advanced Gynaecological Laparoscopic Surgery fellowship at the Mercy Hospital for Women in 1999 before starting in private practice. You can learn more about Dr Gary Swift by following this link, or by making a phone call on this number – 07 5564 6017
What happens in Keyhole Surgery?
Most keyhole surgeries involved only a few half-to-one-centimetre incisions. The first is made at the navel where a viewing telescope attached to a camera and light source (the laparoscope) is passed through a specially designed tube into the abdomen. This allows the surgeon to see the operative area on a video monitor. Two or three other small incisions are made to create passageways for other specially designed surgical instruments, which helps the specialist like Dr Gary Swift to carry out the same types of procedures as in open surgery, the only difference being that surgeons refer to the video output to guide them through the surgery.
The benefits for laparoscopic surgery
There is no need for large incisions and painful procedures. Most gynaecological surgery can now be completed with keyhole techniques including hysterectomies, ovarian and tubal surgery , removal of fibroids and endometriosis. The benefits are smaller scars , less pain and analgesia requirement, shorter hospital stays and more rapid recovery and return to normal duties. Complications in expert hands are no greater than open surgery and often much less. For a skilled laparoscopic surgeon less than 5% of gynaecological procedures require open surgery and for many of us only about 1%. There is increased visualisation of pelvic disease at the expense of tactile sensation. There is ample evidence for the superiority of laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis, fibroids ovarian abnormalities and hysterectomies.
All patients should question if their specialist is qualified, trained and competent in advanced laparoscopic procedures before agreeing to undergo gynaecological surgery and certainly not accept an explanation that it is not safe or possible as an excuse for inadequate skill, training or expertise.
If you would like to make an appointment with Dr Gary Swift for a consult simply click on this link