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What are the Different Types of Laparoscopic Instruments?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Laparoscopic surgeons are familiar with a large variety of tools that some surgeons never or rarely use. Surgical simulators, trocas, and insufflators are laparoscopic instruments that this type of surgeon might use on a daily basis. Cameras and viewing screens are also important components of a laparoscopic surgery. Besides these instruments and tools, typical surgical equipment is also used, including but not limited to scissors, graspers, and suction tubes.

A trocar is a sharp instrument that resembles a tiny sword. It slides through a hollow tube called a cannula and is used to create a port into the abdomen. While they were originally used to release fluids in a body, they are now also used to introduce small laparoscopic instruments. Cameras, scissors, and graspers are commonly used with a trocar. Trocars are not limited to use by surgeons for humans; veterinarians also use them on animals.

With the help of cameras and a large viewing screen, laparoscopic surgeons can magnify their work area by 10 times the original size. This is an especially beneficial ability when removing very small parts of the body. Other surgeons use cameras and viewing screens, but laparoscopic surgeons generally cannot work without them.

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Insufflators are an invaluable category of laparoscopic instruments, without which operating through small incisions would likely be impossible. These tools work to fill the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide gas so that surgeons have room to see and operate within it. Without expanding the abdominal cavity, there would not be spare room to maneuver, as the skin and abdominal wall would essentially be pulled tight against the internal organs. Though insufflation is an important part of any laparoscopic surgery, this technique is also used as part of the implementation of other minimally invasive types of surgeries for essentially the same reasons.

Another type of laparoscopic instruments are surgical simulators, which can help surgeons walk through and prepare for a laparoscopic surgery. These virtual reality–integrated instruments allow surgeons to perform mock surgeries and experiment with new ways of doing things without risking human lives. Virtual reality laparoscopies can also be an effective way for a surgical student to practice performing these types of surgeries at no risk. The use of these technologies means that surgeons do not have to perform a new surgery on an actual patient and that their first time doing so will be bolstered by experience gained in virtual reality.

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