With the widespread introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in late 1989, the practice and expectations of general surgery were changed forever. The techniques of laparoscopy were not new—they had been adopted by gynecologists and orthopedic surgeons at least a decade before—but it was laparoscopic cholecystectomy that captured the attention of the surgical profession and the public and spawned the tremendous growth in what has come to be called minimally invasive surgery. Although this surgery has tremendous appeal, offering quicker recovery, less pain, and possibly greater safety, it presents new challenges in the areas of training, credentialing, and quality assessment and raises serious questions about the real benefits of new technology at a time when the political and economic sensitivity of these issues is greater than ever.

In this chapter I limit myself to a discussion of laparoscopy in general surgery, with a focus on what we have learned from laparoscopic cholecystectomy and on what this knowledge suggests for the future of other laparoscopic general surgical procedures.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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