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Published on June 26, 2017

Surgeons use tiny cameras and tools to make surgeries a success

Just about any surgery done by Dr. Ram is going to involve a camera.

Laparoscopic surgeryDr. Ram is the nickname of Prashanth Ramachandra, MD. He is the Mercy Bariatrics Clinical Director and Chair of the Surgery Department at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals. And there’s almost no surgery he and his team can’t perform laparoscopically.

Laparoscopic surgery is also called minimally invasive surgery. Rather than one big incision, the surgeon makes several small cuts. Through one cut he inserts a thin scope with a tiny camera attached to the end. He inserts small tools through the other cuts. Then he watches through the camera as he performs surgery with the tools.

“There are very, very few times when we can’t do a surgery laparoscopically,” Dr. Ramachandra says.

A faster recovery

That’s good news for patients. The tiny incisions used in this type of surgery mean less trauma and pain for the patient.

“The patient spends fewer days in the hospital and gets back to work and other activities much more quickly,” Dr. Ramachandra says.

The most common surgeries done this way include gallbladder removals and hernia repairs. But Dr. Ramachandra and his team also do many complex surgeries using small incisions and a camera.

“We do a lot of surgeries laparoscopically that are generally not done that way at other hospitals, such as liver and major cancer resections,” he says. “We definitely have a lot of experience. And our patients do very well. We have very few complications.”


Has your doctor suggested you have laparoscopic surgery?

If so, you probably have a lot of questions. Below are some you should ask your surgeon, according to Prashanth Ramachandra, MD, the Mercy Bariatrics Clinical Director and Chair of the Surgery Department at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital.

  1. How many surgeries do you perform laparoscopically?
  2. How many complex laparoscopic procedures do you do per month? Dr. Ramachandra says a good number is “at least 20 to 25 a month.”
  3. How often do you begin a surgery laparoscopically but then convert to traditional surgery? This is called a conversion rate. It should be a low number.
  4. How often have you done this specific surgery? “There are some surgeries that aren’t done very often simply because the disease is rare,” Dr. Ramachandra says. “For example, gastric cancer is rare. So surgery for gastric cancer is not common. But if the surgeon is doing a large number of advanced laparoscopic surgeries, he or she can handle the rarer surgeries with ease.”

More@Mercy Newsletter

  • Surgeons use tiny cameras and tools to make surgeries a success

Surgery: By the Numbers

196,000: The estimated number of people in the U.S. who had bariatric (weight-loss) surgery in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

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