Monday, July 30, 2007

Laparoscopic Surgery -- Removing Sigmoid Colon

This week I have a chance to observe Dr. Milson performs a laparoscopic surgery. When I entered the operation room, the surgery is already started. Everyone was pretty relaxed. The patient was lying on the operating table “sounds asleep”, while Dr. Milson was cracking joke and directing the residents what to do. When I walked close to the operating table, I saw there were various long rod-shaped surgical tools sticking from the abdomen of the patient’s body. Three physicians were holding these various surgical tools and watching the screen in front of them. One thing stand out is that the patient’s abdomen is swell like a balloon. Later I found out that in this kind of laparoscopic surgery, the abdomen is usually inflated with CO2, so the physicians have more room to work with. When I looked up at the screen, u can see all the guts of the patient. Also u can see the ends of the long surgical tools. Several of them are small clamps that use to hold different tissues. One scissor shaped tool is use to cut the connective tissue away from the sigmoid colon. It not only function as a scissor, but has some kind of heating mechanism that will seal the wound from the cutting so not much blood came out. It was quite amazing to see that how three physicians can work cooperatively to remove all the connected tissues from the sigmoid colon. Since it is already hard to maneuver using these long tools, and two people have to hold the tissue in place, so the other physician and cut them away from the colon. After the sigmoid colon is completely remove from the rest of the connective tissue, the doctor took the whole thing out from one of the incision of the body, and cut away the disease part. Then he used a special stable gun to join back the colon and the rectum. Finally, one of the residents performed a leak test to assure the colons are joined completely.

The whole procedure took about an hour and half, which is longer compared to traditional open surgery. However, there are several advantages. First, since only several small incisions are made during surgery, the recovery time will be shorter. Furthermore, blood loss will be minimal. One thing is quite remarkable in this type of surgery is the design of these various surgical tools used in the surgery.

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