Minimal access approaches in the treatment of a variety of solid tumors of the stomach, large bowel, and genitourinary system are now being advocated in several surgical specialty areas. The laparoscope has evolved from a diagnostic tool to a modality that allows for removal of tumors using small incisions and the application of pneumoperitoneum with carbon dioxide. Through studies using animal models and patient investigation, the immunologic benefits of laparoscopic cancer procedures appear to be beneficial when compared with conventional laparotomy. Overall benefits of analgesic reduction, more rapid postoperative recovery, and patient satisfaction are the byproducts of minimal access approaches. Patients with cancers of the stomach, colon, and kidney show similar long-term outcomes when compared with conventional open techniques. Caution, however, should be exercised in recommending laparoscopic approaches for routine management of primary tumors of the rectum and adrenal gland.
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