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Complications Of Laparoscopy And Thoracoscopy

Patrick Paw, Jonathan M. Sackier

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Laparoscopy was first performed at the turn of the century, but it was not until the introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy that the procedure became widely adopted by general surgeons. Since then, traditional open procedures, including cholecystectomy, exploratory laparotomy, colectomy, hernia repair, and appendectomy, are being widely performed laparoscopically. The advantages of laparoscopic surgery, including less postoperative pain due to smaller surgical incisions, shorter hospital stay, quicker return to preoperative activity, and superior cosmesis, resulted in widespread popularity with both surgeons and patients. In certain situations, the traditional method may be superior to the laparoscopic approach, as may be the case with laparoscopic hernia repair. It is difficult to justify converting a local, extraperitoneal, 45-minute, outpatient inguinal hernia repair in a virgin groin into a general anesthetic, transperitoneal, 2-hour plus, possibly inpatient laparoscopic procedure with the implantation of mesh. However, data may indicate that this operation does indeed have benefits. We must, therefore, carefully study such new operations. With the advent of a new surgical procedure, both surgeons and anesthesiologists must be familiar with the various complications unique to this technique. If recognized early, potentially life-threatening complications, including gas embolization and tension pneumothorax, can be corrected.