General surgery experienced major advances with the introduction of the endoscope. This is an instrument for visualizing the interior of a body canal or a hollow organ. Endoscopic surgery relies on this pencil-thin instrument, equipped with its own lighting system and small video camera. The endoscope is inserted through tiny incisions called portals. While viewing the procedure on a video screen, the surgeon then operates with various other small precise instruments inserted through one or more of the portals. The specific area of the body to be treated determines the type of endoscopic surgery performed. For example, colonoscopy uses an endoscope, which can be equipped with a device for obtaining tissue samples for visual examination of the colon. Gastroscopy uses an endoscope inserted through the mouth to examine the interior of the stomach. Arthroscopy refers to joint surgery. Abdominal procedures are called laparoscopies.
Endoscopy is frequently used in both treatment and diagnosis especially involving the digestive and female reproductive systems. Endoscopy has advantages over many other surgical procedures, resulting in a quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays. This noninvasive technique is being used for appendectomies, gallbladder surgery, hysterectomies, and the repair of shoulder and knee ligaments. However, endoscopy has such limitations as complications and high operating expense. Also, endoscopy does not offer advantages over conventional surgery in all procedures. Some literature states that, as general surgeons become more experienced in their prospective fields, additional noninvasive surgical procedures will become more common options.One-day surgery is also termed same-day or outpatient surgery. Surgical procedures in this category usually require two hours or less and involve minimal blood loss and a short recovery time. In the majority of surgical cases, oral medications control postoperative pain. Cataract removal, laparoscopy, tonsillectomy, repair of broken bones, hernia repair, and a wide range of cosmetic procedures are common same-day surgical procedures.