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Instruments and devices used in laparoscopic surgery

Jon Gould, MD
Todd A Ponsky, MD, FACS
Jeffrey Blatnik, MD
Section Editors
Jeffrey Marks, MD
Tommaso Falcone, MD, FRCSC, FACOG
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Minimally invasive surgery has undergone significant advances and has changed the way operations are performed. Technological advances have produced progressively smaller laparoscopic instruments and higher-quality imaging that allow laparoscopic surgeons to perform precise dissection with minimal bleeding through most dissection planes, even those that are highly vascular.

Adequate hemostasis is essential during laparoscopic procedures to ensure a clear view of the operating field. The need to convert to an open procedure negates the advantages of the laparoscopic approach. Primary prevention of bleeding through the use of various laparoscopic devices to carefully dissect and identify vascular structures prior to dividing them (as needed) is fundamental. However, when bleeding does occur, these devices can also be used to safely and efficiently achieve hemostasis to allow the procedures to continue laparoscopically. (See "Complications of laparoscopic surgery", section on 'Management of hemorrhage'.)

This topic will discuss devices and techniques available for laparoscopic imaging, dissection, and control of bleeding encountered during laparoscopic surgery. Abdominal access techniques are discussed in detail elsewhere. (See "Abdominal access techniques used in laparoscopic surgery".)


Laparoscopic surgery refers to surgical procedures that are performed through one or multiple small incisions, rather than through a larger, usually single, incision through the abdominal wall. Advantages of laparoscopy over laparotomy include smaller scars, quicker recovery, decreased adhesion formation [1] and, for some procedures (but not all), less bleeding, fewer complications, and shorter procedure duration [2-6]. However, in many cases, the risk of major complications (pulmonary embolus, transfusion, fistula formation, major additional unplanned surgery) may be similar for the open and laparoscopic approaches to a given procedure. The advantages and disadvantages of the laparoscopic approach for specific procedures are discussed in separate topic reviews.

Depending upon the nature of the specific surgical procedure, laparoscopic entry can be performed using a closed (Veress needle, optical access) or open technique (Hasson technique). Once pneumoperitoneum has been established, one or more ports are placed through which the camera and instruments are passed. Techniques for laparoscopic entry are reviewed in detail elsewhere. (See "Abdominal access techniques used in laparoscopic surgery" and "Abdominal access techniques used in laparoscopic surgery", section on 'Single-incision surgery (SIS)'.)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 15, 2017.
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