Acute and Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorder

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What is laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery, or minimally invasive surgery (MIS), is a modern surgical technique that helps surgeons perform various surgical procedures, including treating acute and gestational disorders with smaller incisions than traditional open surgery. 

Acute gastrointestinal disorders are sudden and short-term health issues that affect the digestive system, primarily caused by infections, food poisoning, or other temporary factors. These conditions are usually caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites and may result in diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. 

Chronic gastrointestinal disorders are long-lasting conditions often caused by underlying health issues or structural abnormalities that persist over an extended period. Conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, and coeliac disease are some examples of chronic gastrointestinal diseases, which may lead to persistent abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, and inflammation.

Laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery can be utilised for both acute and chronic gastrointestinal disorders, depending on the severity of the condition. 

Acute gastrointestinal disorders can cause discomfort and abdominal pain

How does laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery work?

The surgeon creates multiple small incisions, typically measuring 0.5 to 1.5 centimetres, in the patient's abdominal area, referred to as "ports." 

A laparoscope, a slender tube-like instrument equipped with a camera and light source, is inserted through one of these ports. The camera provides a live video feed of the surgical site, displayed on a monitor in the operating room, which enables the surgeon to examine and treat the condition. 

Specialised surgical instruments are introduced through the remaining ports to help the surgeon remove the inflamed organ, for example, the appendix or gallbladder. After the procedure, the surgeon closes these small incisions with stitches or surgical glue, and the surgery usually causes minimal scarring. 

laparoscopic surgery
Laparoscopic surgery has revolutionised the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders with minimal invasiveness

Benefits of laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery

  • Smaller incisions (ports) reduce tissue trauma
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Faster recovery times
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Minimal scarring
  • Reduced blood loss in acute cases
  • Suitable for managing complications in chronic disorders
Post-surgery recovery 
Laparoscopic surgery leads to faster recovery time and shorter hospital stays. 

What conditions can laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgery treat?

Laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery can treat various medical conditions, such as: 

  • Abdominal and groin hernia repair: laparoscopic technique can treat both inguinal (groin) and ventral (abdominal wall) hernias. 
  • Gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy): a laparoscopic procedure known as cholecystectomy (link to laparoscopic cholecystectomy treatment page) that treats gallbladder issues, typically caused by gallstones.
  • Appendectomy: acute appendicitis can also be treated through laparoscopic surgery. 
  • Gastrointestinal conditions: laparoscopy can help treat acute and chronic gastrointestinal conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), achalasia, and Crohn's disease, among others.
  • Gynaecological issues: minimally invasive surgery can help with surgical procedures such as hysterectomy, endometriosis treatment, and uterine fibroids removal.
  • Urological conditions: a laparoscopic surgery can also treat conditions like kidney or adrenal gland disorders (link to adrenal gland incidentaloma service page) and certain prostate conditions. 
  • Bariatric surgery: minimally invasive procedures like gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy can be performed to assist with weight loss.
  • Thoracic and cardiac surgery: minimally invasive techniques can be used to treat some cardiac and lung procedures. 
  • Orthopaedic surgery: in some instances, such as arthroscopy, minimally invasive techniques are performed for joint and bone surgeries.
  • ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) procedures: minimally invasive surgery is often used in tonsillectomy, sinus surgery, and more.
  • Cancer surgery: in some cases, minimally invasive techniques are utilised for cancer surgery, depending on the type and stage of the cancer (link to adrenal gland cancer service page)
  • Liver and pancreas surgery: conditions affecting the liver and pancreas may be treated using laparoscopic surgery. 

These are just a few examples, and the applicability of laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery usually depends on the patient’s overall health condition and the severity of their disease. 

If you suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, schedule an appointment with ACE Specialist Surgery and Endoscopy for laparoscopic or minimally invasive and personalised treatment options tailored to your needs.

What results can I expect from a laparoscopy? 

Upon admission to the hospital for the laparoscopic surgery, a healthcare expert will perform the basic pre-operative assessments, including blood tests and physical examinations, to ensure you are in the best possible condition. 

Following these preparations, you will be taken to the operating room for the procedure. After the surgery is complete, you will receive post-operative care, which involves monitoring in a recovery area and pain management. 

The minimally invasive approach typically results in less post-operative pain, smaller scars, and faster recovery than open surgery. Your specialist will guide you on caring for your wound post-surgery. Remember to restrict strenuous activities for a few days and follow dietary guidelines. 

Recovery outcomes vary based on the severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health. Your surgeon will provide personalised guidance on your expected recovery time. 

How many laparoscopic treatment sessions are needed?

The number of treatment sessions required for laparoscopic surgery for acute and chronic disorders depends on the severity of the condition. 

For most patients, laparoscopic surgery for acute conditions such as appendicitis or gallbladder inflammation involves a single surgical session, and once treated, they may not require further sessions. 

However, patients suffering from chronic conditions like Crohn's disease or diverticulitis may require additional surgeries or interventions. Some patients may even require periodic follow-up surgeries or treatments to manage their conditions. 

Is laparoscopic surgery suitable for all types of gastrointestinal disorders?

Laparoscopic surgery is effective for many gastrointestinal conditions, but its suitability depends on the patient's overall health condition and disease severity. Your endocrinologist will determine the most suitable treatment option for your case.

How long is the recovery period after laparoscopic surgery for gastrointestinal disorders?

Recovery times vary depending on the type and severity of the disorder. However, patients generally experience shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries than traditional open surgery.

What are the potential risks associated with laparoscopic surgery for gastrointestinal disorders?

While laparoscopic surgery is considered safe, it carries some risks, including infection, bleeding, and injury to surrounding organs. However, you can discuss your concerns with your healthcare team, as they usually take adequate measures to minimise these risks before the procedure.

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Reyaz Moiz

Dr Reyaz Singaporewalla
Senior Consultant Endocrine and General Surgeon

MBBS (Bom), MS (Surg), DNB (Surg), FRCS (Edin), MMed (Singapore), FRCSEd.