Laparoscopy - Medical Negligence Solicitors - Keyhole Surgery

Our laparoscopy medical negligence solicitors will maximise your personal injury compensation claim using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don't win then you don't pay them their professional costs. If you believe that your general surgery, keyhole surgery or laparoscopy was carried out negligently then just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the solicitors helpline and a specialist laparoscopy surgery solicitor will telephone you at no cost and with no obligation.

Our laparoscopy medical negligence solicitors have offices situated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and Sydney. Do yourself justice - give us a call.

Laparoscopy - Medical Negligence

General surgery is not without risk which includes leaving tools behind, erroneous cutting, failure to staunch bleeding and anaesthetic errors. Laparoscopy otherwise known as keyhole surgery was developed because it was less invasive and healing times were generally less however laparoscopy brings with it a new genre of risk. In some cases surgery may start out as laparoscopy but may need changing to open surgery if there are unexpected problems requiring the surgeon to have have better access. If you think that your condition has arisen or worsened as a result of medical negligence, contact our general surgery and laparoscopy solicitors for advice at no cost.

Although laparoscopy or keyhole surgery procedures are a substantial improvement on general surgery, for many operations there is an increased incidence of medical negligence compensation claims. The procedure involves making small incisions in the body in order to insert surgical tools and a fibre optic camera which transmits internal images to a television screen set up in the operating theatre. There are established protocols which should reduce the risk of accidental injury during the initial stages of surgery at which time first incisions and insertion of equipment have to be made without the benefit of the camera. At that point of the laparoscopy procedure there is a risk of unintended physical damage and, subject to unusual anatomy, any injury at this stage may have been caused as a result of medical negligence due to a surgeons failure to observe and follow the well established protocols.

Over recent years the incidence of serious complications and fatalities as a result of laparoscopy procedures has dramatically increased due to keyhole surgery replacing general surgery and becoming more widespread. Most complications occur on initial surgical entry, and most medical negligence compensation claims concern damage to the bowel, injuries to blood vessels and the use of electro-surgery to coagulate, cut and dissect.

Laparoscopic Perforations - Keyhole Surgery

Laparoscopy is the direct visualization of the pelvic structures or abdominal structures using small incisions and a rigid scope that is inserted into one of several incisions in order to see the structures or manipulate the structures, including the removal of body parts. The keyhole surgery scope is small so sometimes pieces of the object need to come up at one time until the whole structure is removed.

Examples of abdominal structures that can be brought up during laparoscopy include the gallbladder, portions of the intestines, tumours and parts of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. If you would like advice at no cost just use the helpline or complete the contact form and a laparoscopy medicval negligence solicitor will telephone you with no charge and no obligation.

The laparoscope uses a light source at the end of the metal tube (laparoscope) and things are magnified when looked at through the scope. Instruments can be used through separate incisions or as part of the laparoscope itself in order to cut, tie and sponge the surgical area.

The biggest risk with keyhole surgery procedures is a laparoscopic perforation. This involves accidentally puncturing the bowel, stomach or esophagus because you don't have a wide field of vision in the surgery. It is too easy to get the scissors or suture out of the line of site and poke a hole in the abdominal organs.

In a cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal, it is uncommon but possible for a person to have a perforation of the duodenum. This can result in peritonitis and a retroabdominal abscess. Bile can leak into the tissues and can be extremely irritating to the abdominal area. It can be due to a perforation caused by electrocautery or to a puncture with a scalpel or a suture. This kind of laparoscopic perforation spills bacteria-laden abdominal contents into the abdominal cavity, resulting in infection. The infection, if left unchecked, can easily become serious and even fatal.

Esophageal perforations can happen during heartburn surgery, such as a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. This is a surgery which creates flaps that make a new sphincter at the base of the oesophagus so that acid doesn't come up into the oesophagus from the stomach. The first stitch in such a procedure is relatively blind so that perforation of the oesophagus can happen. This, like in gallbladder surgery, can result in a severe case of peritonitis and can result in death.

Colon perforations can happen if a part of the colon is removed due to cancer or disease. It is partially avoided by blowing up the abdomen with air so that the area is easily visualized. This, and a bright camera, can prevent a lot of perforations from occurring. But doctors can make a mistake and can nick the colon with a laparoscopic tool such as a scalpel. Because the surgery is done at the end of a long tube and without the ability to get at the area of perforation when it occurs and bacteria can easily spill out into the abdominal space.

On the whole, laparoscopic perforations are rare so if it happens, the abilities of the doctor need to be called into question. Is the surgeon well versed in doing laparoscopic procedures of the type he or she has just performed? Has this happened with the surgeon in the past? Was there some kind of extenuating situation in the surgical procedure? Was the perforation picked up on right away or did peritonitis begin to happen before the patient was treated? These are the questions you must ask yourself before determining if the surgeon is to be held liable for the laparoscopic perforation. Any surgeon can make a mistake but if the outcome of that mistake is a fatal or near-fatal complication, the individual needs to consider seeking the services of medical negligence solicitor.

Laparoscopy Keyhole Surgery Overview

A laparoscopy is a type of surgery in which a lighted scope that is often flexible is placed through a small incision in the abdomen or pelvis in order to see what is inside or to repair a medical/surgical problem. It is able to find cysts, fibroids, adhesions, infections and tumors; it is able to do things that used to require open abdominal or pelvic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is often less stressful to the patient with a considerable improvement in recovery time.

Laparoscopies are done for the following reasons, among others:

  • It is used to treat ectopic pregnancies, endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • It can evaluate and remove tumors in the abdomen or pelvis.
  • It can perform a biopsy.
  • It can evaluate causes of infertility.
  • It can check on the injuries to the spleen or liver following trauma.
  • It can check for abdominal metastases.
  • It can repair several types of abdominal and inguinal hernias.
  • It can do a tubal ligation.
  • It can evaluate pelvic pain.
  • It can perform an appendectomy, hysterectomy, splenectomy or gallbladder removal.

A laparoscopy can be done by a surgeon or gynecologist. It is usually done under general anesthesia but can be done under spinal anesthesia. The doctor will have you empty your bladder before surgery and you’ll receive an IV and a sedative followed by your anesthetic.

After the anesthesia has taken hold, you will have a tube placed in your throat for proper breathing. A urinary catheter will be placed in the bladder and some of your abdominal or pubic hair will be shaved. The affected area will be washed with sterile soap. In a pelvic exam, a cannula is placed through the cervix to better manipulate the uterus during the procedure.

An incision will be made in the belly. An amount of CO2 gas is introduced to better see the structures. The laparoscope is a thin, lighted tube inserted through the first incision. Other incisions are made if necessary for tools and tissue manipulators are to be inserted. In some cases, a laser is attached to the laparoscope if the procedure is to be laser surgery.

When the surgery is completed, the tools are taken out and the gas will be released; incisions can then be treated with sutures and bandages. These incisions are less than an inch long and will fade in time.

A laparoscopy takes about thirty to ninety minutes to perform. The recovery period is about 2-4 hours. Pain is markedly less than it would be if you had an open surgery. Pain medications will nevertheless be given for a few days after the surgery.

Laparoscopies are not without their risks. There are minor and major risks taken when undergoing a laparoscopy. The most common risk factors for having a laparoscopy include the following:

  • Incisional bleeding which might require a blood transfusion.
  • Damage to a nerve, blood vessel or organ. This can require an open surgery to repair.
  • Infection in the abdominal or pelvic region.
  • There is a greater risk of complication if you have the following conditions:

    • Abdominal hernia.
    • Abdominal cancer.
    • Had a history of past abdominal surgeries in the past.
    • In addition, the CO2 gas used during the laparoscopic procedure can be irritating to the diaphragm for a couple of days postoperatively. It can cause shoulder pain from referred pain from the diaphragm to the shoulder. The belly gas may also leak into your skin so that you notice crackling in the skin if you press on the skin around the incision. While interesting, it is not serious and will disappear after a few days.

      You should call your doctor if you have a great deal of redness or swelling around the incisions or if you have excessive bleeding or drainage around the incisions.

      HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

      The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here