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Open versus Laparoscopic Surgery
There are two basic ways that bariatric surgery is performed - open and laparoscopically.

1) Open
An open procedure involves one long incision that opens the abdomen to provide the surgeon access. Open procedures for weight loss surgery employ the same principles as their laparoscopic counterparts and produce similar excess weight loss.
2) Laparoscopic
When a laparoscopic operation is performed, a small video camera is inserted into the abdomen which allows the surgeon to conduct and view the surgery on a video monitor. The camera and surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions made in the abdominal wall. This approach is considered less invasive because it replaces the need for one long incision to open the abdomen.
 
Laparoscopic procedures for weight loss surgery employ the same principles as their "open" counterparts and produce similar excess weight loss.

Compared to open surgery, some benefits of laparoscopic surgery include:
Less post-operative pain
Fewer wound infections
Fewer incisional hernias
Faster recovery and return to pre-surgical level of activity
 
Sources:
www.gastricbypass.org/procedures.asp

Whitgrove AC, Clark GW. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, Roux-en-Y 500 Patients: Technique and Results, with 3 - 60 Month Follow-up. Obesity Surgery 2000 June; 10 (3): 233-39.
Open
Photo used with permission from Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.
Laparoscopic
Photo used with permission from Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.
 
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