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Department of Surgery Referrals Patient Clinician Researcher

Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery
Surgical Procedures & Innovations  Laparoscopic vs. Open Approach

Open and Laparoscopic Approaches to Obesity Surgery

The open approach involves an 8 to 10 inch incision to open the abdomen and perform the surgery in open view of the surgical team. The laparoscopic approach creates five or six small incisions (1/4 or 1/2 inch long) instead of the one larger incision. In the laparoscopic method, a small fiberoptic tube (the laparoscope), connected to a video camera, is inserted through the small abdominal incisions. This gives the surgeon a magnified view of the patient's internal organs on a television screen next to the operating table. The entire operation is performed "inside" the abdomen, after gas has been used to expand it, with the instruments inserted through the various small incisions.

Advantages of Laparoscopy

Whatever the method used, the patient's average stay in the hospital is 2-3 days. When this procedure is done laparoscopically, patients recover faster and often return to work in 2 weeks (as compared to 4 -6 with traditional surgery). The rate of hernias (a complication in 10 to 20 percent of open procedures) is significantly reduced. Laparoscopic surgery also protects the patient's immune function, whereas open surgery can compromise the immune system and even promote the growth of any existing tumors.

In summary, the minimal access, laparoscopic surgical approach to the treatment of obesity may reduce postoperative pain and medication levels, promote faster return of bowel function, and improved cosmetic results. It is important to remember, however, that not all patients are candidates for laparoscopic surgery. Your surgeon will be able to provide you with the most appropriate treatment options for your individual situation.

Video interview with Dr. Marc Bessler on Laparoscopic Obesity Surgery Video interview with Dr. Marc Bessler
on Laparoscopic Obesity Surgery

from Spring 2002

Length11 min
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