Laparoscopy in the Morbidly Obese: Physiologic Considerations and Surgical Techniques to Optimize Success

Stacey A. Scheib, Edward Tanner, Isabel C. Green, Amanda N. Fader

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The objectives of this review were to analyze the literature describing the benefits of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery in obese women, to examine the physiologic considerations associated with obesity, and to describe surgical techniques that will enable surgeons to perform laparoscopy and robotic surgery successfully in obese patients. The Medline database was reviewed for all articles published in the English language between 1993 and 2013 containing the search terms "gynecologic laparoscopy" "laparoscopy," "minimally invasive surgery and obesity," "obesity," and "robotic surgery." The incidence of obesity is increasing in the United States, and in particular morbid obesity in women. Obesity is associated with a wide range of comorbid conditions that may affect perioperative outcomes including hypertension, atherosclerosis, angina, obstructive sleep apnea, and diabetes mellitus. In obese patients, laparoscopy or robotic surgery, compared with laparotomy, is associated with a shorter hospital stay, less postoperative pain, and fewer wound complications. Specific intra-abdominal access and trocar positioning techniques, as well as anesthetic maneuvers, improve the likelihood of success of laparoscopy in women with central adiposity. Performing gynecologic laparoscopy in the morbidly obese is no longer rare. Increases in the heaviest weight categories involve changes in clinical practice patterns. With comprehensive and thoughtful preoperative and surgical planning, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery may be performed safely and is of particular benefit in obese patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-195
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Laparoscopy
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Obesity
  • Physiology
  • Robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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