Keyhole surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery, is a modern surgical technique in which operations are performed, either with no cut to the body, or through very small incisions of about 1cm. Keyhole procedures within the abdomen or pelvis are known as laparoscopic, whilst those on the uterus are hysteroscopic.

A laparoscope is a narrow telescope, it is inserted through the abdominal wall, usually using the umbilicus (tummy button) so any small scar is invisible. A light source and a camera is connected, allowing the surgeon and assistants a magnified view of the surgery. Other special keyhole instruments such as scissors are used through 1 or 2 additional very small 5mm incisions.

There are several advantages to keyhole surgery compared with traditional operations for the patient:

  • smaller incisions reducing pain and recovery time
  • reduced bleeding
  • reduced exposure to infections
  • shorter time in hospital due to faster recovery period
  • reduction in internal scarring (adhesions)
  • no visible external scar

Most of the procedures in our unit are routinely performed with keyhole surgery:

Mr Simon Jackson demonstrating the camera used in keyhole surgery Laparoscope Laparoscopic (keyhole) instruments