Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure performed by inflating the abdomen with gas (usually carbon dioxide), which creates a space between the abdomen wall and the organs inside. Using short incisions in the skin, narrow tubes are inserted through the abdominal wall so that instruments can be slid through them to perform the maneuvers necessary for the operation. In addition, a special camera called a laparoscope is inserted to produce an inside view of the abdominal cavity. Surgeons use the laparoscope, which transmits a real-time picture of the internal organs to a video monitor, to guide them through surgical procedures. The laparoscope magnifies these images many times their actual size, providing surgeons with a superior view of the abdomen.
Laparoscopic kidney removal is considered minimally invasive because it requires only three or four small non-muscle-cutting incisions rather than one large muscle-cutting incision in the abdomen. By avoiding a long incision through the muscles, many post-operative problems are eliminated and pain can be reduced. This enables the donor to breathe and cough easier, and the use of strong pain medications is reduced so that drowsiness and fatigue are minimized.