Research Article

Advanced techniques in abdominal surgery.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 20 November 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:1346
  1. J R Monson
  1. Academic Surgical Unit, St Mary's Hospital, London.


    Almost every abdominal organ is now amenable to laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic appendicectomy is a routine procedure which also permits identification of other conditions initially confused with an inflamed appendix. However, assessment of appendiceal inflammation is more difficult. Almost all colonic procedures can be performed laparoscopically, at least partly, though resection for colonic cancer is still controversial. For simple patch repair of perforated duodenal ulcers laparoscopy is ideal, and inguinal groin hernia can be repaired satisfactorily with a patch of synthetic mesh. Many upper abdominal procedures, however, still take more time than the open operations. These techniques reduce postoperative pain and the incidence of wound infections and allow a much earlier return to normal activity compared with open surgery. They have also brought new disciplines: surgeons must learn different hand-eye coordination, meticulous haemostasis is needed to maintain picture quality, and delivery of specimens may be problematic. The widespread introduction of laparoscopic techniques has emphasised the need for adequate training (operations that were straight-forward open procedures may require considerable laparoscopic expertise) and has raised questions about trainee surgeons acquiring adequate experience of open procedures.