Traditionally, all abdominal surgery is done through an open incision in the abdomen, either vertical or transverse incision. Laparoscopic surgery uses small incisions where the ports goes through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity, gas (CO2) is pumped into the abdominal cavity to create a working space and surgery is then performed using long instruments. The difference between laparoscopic and open surgery is the size of the incisions made. The surgery itself is exactly the same.
Laparoscopic surgery offers advantage over open surgery in terms of less pain, faster recovery of intestinal function, shorter hospital stay and earlier return to work. It also offers better cosmetic result with smaller incisions. It carries its own set of risks compared to open surgery but most studies have shown laparoscopic surgery to be at least equivalent to open surgery.
With technological advances and greater experience in laparoscopic surgery, more and more abdominal surgery are performed via laparoscopic approached. However, not all patients or conditions are suited to laparoscopic surgery. In cases for laparoscopic surgery is not appropriate, open surgery is then the preferred option.