Minimally Invasive (Laparoscopic) Surgeries
During minimally invasive procedures, our surgeons use a laparoscope, which is a thin, hollow tube with a video attached to the end, to see an image of gastrointestinal tract. Special surgical instruments allow the operation to be performed through a few small incisions without the need to have open incisions in the abdomen.
Minimally invasive surgeries require fewer and smaller incisions than those needed for traditional, open surgery. These smaller incisions allows patients to experience less postoperative discomfort, less scarring, reduced risk for infection, shorter hospital stays, fewer physical restrictions, and shorter recovery times. The majority of minimally invasive surgeries are performed under general anesthesia and as an outpatient procedure.
At Yale Gastrointestinal Surgery, the following procedures are performed with minimally invasive techniques:
Laparoscopic Heller Myotomy
The Heller Myotomy is commonly used to treat achalasia, a disorder in which the lower esophageal sphincter (muscle) does not relax properly, making it difficult to swallow. During the procedure, the lower esophageal sphincter is cut to allow food and liquid to pass more easily.
Laparoscopic Colon Surgery
Laparoscopic colon surgery is used to treat colon cancer, diverticulitis, and polyps. In cases used to treat colon cancer or diverticulitis, the diseased part of the colon is removed and the healthy segments of the colon are reattached (known as an end-to-end anastomosis). Large and small polyps can be completely removed while leaving the colon wall intact.
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication
The Nissen fundoplication is used to treat paraesophageal hiatal hernias and reflux disease (GERD). Hiatal hernias occur when the upper part of the stomach (the gastric fundus) slides up through the esophageal hiatus (the natural opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus passes through). In cases of GERD, this procedure is performed when medical therapy has not helped ease the symptoms of GERD. In cases of a hiatal hernia, it is the first treatment option. During the Nissen fundoplication, the upper part of the stomach (gastric fundus) is completely wrapped around the lower end of the esophagus and then stitched into place. The esophagus hiatus is also narrowed using stitches in order to prevent or treat the hiatal hernia.
A splenectomy is a procedure to remove all or part of a diseased or damaged spleen.
Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair
During an inguinal hernia repair, a small piece of surgical mesh is placed under the herniated area on the abdominal wall in order to strengthen the weakened area and help prevent the hernia from recurring.
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Gallbladder Removal
During a cholecystectomy gallbladder removal, the gallbladder and any gallstones outside of the gallbladder are removed.
An appendectomy is the removal of a diseased or damaged appendix.
Laparoscopic Surgery for Ventral/Incisional/Umbilical Hernia Repair
During a ventral/incisional/umbilical hernia repair, a small piece of surgical mesh is placed under the herniated area on the abdominal wall in order to strengthen the weakened area and help prevent the hernia from recurring.
Laparoscopic gastrectomy is performed to treat early stomach cancers by removing part or all of the stomach. The esophagus is then connected to the remaining portion of the stomach or to the small intestine if the entire stomach is removed.
Laparoscopic Gastric Stimulator Placement
Gastric electrical stimulation (GES) uses a small electrical device, called a gastric pacemaker, that provides mild stimulation to the lower stomach nerves. This therapy is used to treat patients with chronic nausea and vomiting due to gastroparesis and sometimes other unknown causes. The pacemaker is placed beneath the skin just below the rib cage in the abdomen and two wires, or leads, extending from the pacemaker are gently attached in the stomach wall muscle. After the device is placed, surgeons use a handheld programmer to adjust the amount of neurostimulation, or “electrical impulses,” that is right for the patient.
The pacemaker can be adjusted or turned off at any time by the surgeon without the use of surgery. The therapy is reversible.
Single Port Surgery or Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS)
SILS is an advanced minimally invasive surgery that can be performed using only one small incision hidden in the umbilicus (belly button).
Procedures performed using SILS include removal of the appendix or gallbladder.