Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Non-invasive

One of breakthroughs in modern surgery has been the use of laparoscopic techniques. This is where one or more small incisions are made in the body and all the work is done through those incisions, whether it’s the use of a miniature camera or the insertion of an inflatable adjustable gastric band (as in houston lapband surgery).

My wife has had at least one bout of surgery done in this way, and it’s so much less invasive. The ‘secret,’ as it were, is in the plasticity of the skin, which stretches conveniently as required. Laparoscopy cuts down on damage to the surface of the skin, on healing times, and often allows patients to have what used to be major surgery done in one day. And you’re home in your own bed at night.

I’m not a great fan of surgery myself, and having over the years seen the huge scars left by major surgery (I went to visit a patient who was a relative stranger to me one day, after he’d had heart surgery, and he pulled open his pyjama top and showed me how one side of his front appeared to have been folded over the other, just like a coat) I’m not keen to have it either. But laparoscopy might be survivable.

For those who wonder what lapband (or lap-band) surgery is, it’s similar to stomach stapling, but again, it’s a lot less invasive. And apparently it’s reversible. Good news for those considering stomach-stapling but not keen on all the cutting and tying that’s usually needed.

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