Laparoscopic Surgery

lapro1The Laparoscopic Surgery Group at the University of Virginia provides a complete and full range of laparoscopic surgical services for those operations often done elsewhere by a large abdominal incision. Complete diagnostic and therapeutic services for the surgical problem are provided, as is the appropriate recommendation for operations via a laparoscopic approach where this approach offers potential benefit.

Laparoscopic surgery has been shown to cause less post-operative pain, allows for a faster discharge from the hospital, more rapid return to normal activities, avoids the large, painful incision for “open” abdominal operations with smaller permanent scars. Most patients have now heard of laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder, but some still confuse the term “laser surgery” with “laparoscopic” surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, lasers are usually not used (they usually are not needed) but instead the operation is done by passing the instruments through small tubes into the abdominal cavity. A telescope is passed through one of the tubes to allow visualization of the operation.

Operations which are performed using a laparoscopic approach at the University of Virginia include:

  • Cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal)
  • Bile duct operation
  • Liver biopsy
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy
  • Closure and treatment for perforated ulcers and other ulcer problems including vagotomy (both truncal and highly selective), intestinal obstruction -conditions requiring removal of part of the stomach, (either cutting scar tissue or intestinal bypass if needed) conditions requiring removal of a piece of the intestine,
  • Conditions requiring removal of part or all of the colon (colectomy)
  • Operations to treat pancreatitis and its complications or pancreatic tumors
  • Operations to remove the spleen
  • Operations to remove one or both adrenal glands
  • Weight reduction operations
  • Operations to remove a section of the liver or to treat liver cysts
  • Operations to create or reverse colostomies
  • Operations to treat rectal prolapse
  • Inguinal hernia repair
  • Abdominal wall hernia repair
  • Feeding jejunostomy
  • Donor nephrectomy for living related kidney transplantation

The Laparoscopy Institute of Virginia provides surgeons and their assisting health care personnel a setting for further instruction and “hands on” training in laparoscopic techniques and procedures. Individual instruction to maximize teaching efficiency is available, as is small group instruction. Interested individuals should call (434)924-2520.


Charles M. Friel, MD
 Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Bruce D. Schirmer, M.D., FACS
Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 924-2104
Peter T. Hallowell, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-4811
Traci Hedrick, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Sook Hoang, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970