LARRY MULVEHILL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LARRY MULVEHILL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A team of surgeons conducting a laparoscopic laser cholecystectomy, a method of removing the gall bladder. A laparoscope is a tube containing bundles of optical fibres, a light source and sometimes small surgical instruments. It may be manipulated by remote control, allowing surgery to be carried out inside the body through a small opening (thus producing a smaller scar). In this case some of the optical fibres transmit a laser beam used in the removal of the gall bladder, while others carry a visual signal which can be displayed on a video monitor. Cholecystectomy is usually performed to deal with troublesome gallstones in the gall bladder.
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