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Laparoscopy surgery

David Bishop, UCL Medical School

Laparoscopy surgery

Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

Photograph showing surgeons performing a laparoscopy, commonly called keyhole surgery, which uses a specialised camera called a laparoscope and small, thin instruments that are placed into the patient's abdomen via small incisions. The procedure being performed in this image is removal of a kidney for transplant.

What are they looking at?

This photograph gives an insightful glimpse into this form of surgery. The surgeon in the middle is performing this skilful procedure while looking at the plasma screens that display internal images of the patient's abdomen projected from the laparoscope. The surgeon navigates his way through the abdominal wall, past the colon to the kidney, where careful incisions dissect the kidney away from the liver and associated blood vessels. A second small incision is made in the lower abdomen and, using a small surgical net, the kidney is extracted in its entirety. The surgery is done under blue light to make the image on the plasma screens clearer for the surgeon to work with.

Watch this video about medical photography to learn more.

Why did it win a special award?

Catherine Draycott explains: "This photograph clearly shows the environment in the operating theatre during keyhole surgery. The images on screen are very striking, as is the stance of the surgeons - standing with their instruments at arm's length, looking away from the patient at the screen. The photographer is working in very challenging circumstances from the point of view of light and contrast and has achieved a great deal of detail despite this. It is an eminently informative and also very striking photograph."