Exploratory surgery may be performed open, with a large incision called a laparotomy, or laparoscopic where small cuts and a camera are employed and a laparotomy is not needed. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and eliminates the need for large damaging incisions to be made in the skin and muscles during the operation. Instruments are inserted into the body through small incisions. The surgeon uses a camera to view the operating field and pencil like instruments to reach the surgery site. Depending on the surgery, patients might be able to go home on the same day.
Laparoscopic surgery is commonly used to treat conditions to remove the gallbladder, fix hernias and perform bariatric surgeries. You may not be able to go home immediately after some procedures, but you will typically have a shorter recovery time, less chance to develop wound infections, less pain and a smaller scar.
This type of surgery does have limitations. Unlike in open surgeries, the surgeon has only a two-dimensional view of the surgical field and therefore decreased depth perception. The ability to touch tissue is also decreased. Still, with training and experience, these obstacles and others may be overcome and the many benefits of this type of surgery can be realized as routine.