Pediatric Laparoscopic Surgery is a new method for performing surgery on children of varying ages to minimize trauma and improve recovery time. As opposed to open surgery, which requires a large single incision so surgeons can open the abdomen, laparoscopic surgery uses very small (.5-1.0cm) incisions referred to as ports.
Through these ports, tools are inserted along with a camera to monitor the progress as the surgeon works remotely with the surgical tools. The space within the abdomen is filled with gas to provide working and viewing space. When the procedure is completed, the tools and camera are removed, the small incisions are closed, and the patient is moved for a short stay in recovery.
The Benefits of Pediatric Laparoscopic Surgery
The primary benefit of pediatric laparoscopic surgery is the fact that this procedure is minimally invasive. With this type of pediatric surgery, there is much less trauma involved. As such, the patient experiences far less discomfort and pain.
Reduced trauma means there is reduced inflammation, which improves the range of motion and allows children to get back on their feet in a much shorter period of time. In many cases, pediatric laparoscopic surgery is a "same day" procedure, meaning patients spend just a few short hours in recovery for monitoring before being sent home.
An added benefit is that given the nature of the very small incision points there is little to no scarring in comparison to one or more very large scar lines from traditional open surgery.
Common Procedures Involving Pediatric Laparoscopic Surgery
The tools used in pediatric laparoscopic surgery offer surgeons an inside view while operating within the abdomen and chest. A few of the more common procedures involving laparoscopic surgery include:
Appendectomy - Is typically an emergency procedure performed when a pediatric patient is suffering from acute appendicitis. Surgeons generally use laparoscopic surgery if a diagnosis isn't confirmed, or to reduce the scars in the umbilicus or pubic region.
Intestinal Resection - Resection of the small bowel/intestine is performed for a variety of reasons including blockage, congenital deformity, inflammation, cancer, or injuries. Several small incisions are made, including (possibly) a slightly larger incision of approximately 2in. to remove a segment of intestine.
Splenectomy - The spleen acts as a blood filter in the body (believed to be just one of its many functions) and is similar in structure to a lymph node. The spleen is removed for a variety of reasons such as rupture, bleeding, auto-immune diseases, cancer or the diagnosis of certain lymphomas.
Inguinal Hernia Repair - An inguinal hernia occurs when the soft tissue of the intestines protrudes through a weak point or a tear in the abdominal wall. Because the hernia can be painful, and the protrusion can lead to obstructions or cut-off blood supply to a region of the intestine, it's necessary to correct the issue quickly. In pediatrics, laparoscopic surgery is often used to avoid the trauma of open surgery in the groin region.
Mediastinal Mass Removal - The mediastinum is the area between the lungs, containing the heart and its large veins/arteries, the trachea, the esophagus and lymph nodes. A mass in this region would normally require open surgery however pediatric laparoscopic surgery in the form of thoracoscopic surgery allows staff to insert tools through small incisions in the chest wall.
A variety of other procedures are performed using pediatric laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery. If you're curious about minimally invasive pediatric surgery, consult with your family physician or pediatrician to discuss surgical options as laparoscopic surgery is not applicable to all conditions and disorders in children.
North Shore-LIJ Health System employs more than 43,000 individual workers, with more than 9,000 physicians and over 10,000 nurses throughout the hospital system. In 2010, North Shore- LIJ provided more than 100,000 ambulatory "same-day" surgeries thanks to advances in surgical technology including pediatric laparoscopic surgery. Visit today to learn more at Pediatric Laparoscopic Surgery.