Laparoscopic/ Robotic or keyhole surgery involves performing an operation through multiple small incisions with the assistance of a telescopic camera that projects onto a video screen.


There are several advantages to laparoscopic/ robotic surgery over open surgery for many surgical procedures including less pain, faster recovery, smaller scars and a lower risk of developing a hernia at your incision site. In some cases, the visual detail and control afforded by this technology allows for a precise dissection with lower blood loss.


Not all procedures can be performed safely and effectively via laparoscopic or robotic techniques. Most gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) and many hernia operations can be performed this way. For hernias the site and size of the hernia, contour of your abdominal wall, previous surgery or other factors may mean the surgery is more safely and effectively performed via a single larger (open) incision. For liver and pancreatic surgery, the ability to perform the procedure laparoscopically/ robotically depends on which part of the liver or pancreas needs to be removed, the size of the tumour, the presence of adhesions from previous surgery and several other factors.

Every minimally invasive operation is accompanied by the caveat that for reasons of safety, an operation may need to be converted to an open operation through a larger incision. In almost all cases, the operation remains exactly the same ‘on the inside’ but can mean a more prolonged initial recovery.

The best and safest surgical approach in your case will be discussed with you at your consultation. At Harbour Surgery, our team has the required skillset to provide surgery via a minimally invasive or traditional, open approach and is thus able to provide you with a tailored, bespoke option.

What is Robotic Surgery

Conventional minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic) is increasingly being complemented by the use of the Surgical Da Vinci Xi Robot. This technology allows the surgeon to have 3D visual feedback and multiple degrees of freedom of movement and more than two hands to perform high-precision minimally invasive surgery. The robot is a tool under the complete control of the operating surgeon. This technology is only available in very few locations in NZ and the team at Harbour Surgery are the only surgeons trained in its use for Complex Upper GI/ Liver/ Pancreas and General Surgery.

The content is to be used as a guide only. Always consult you specialist to determine information relevant to you and your circumstances.