There are many reasons to have surgery. Some operations can relieve or prevent pain. Others can reduce a symptom of a problem or improve some body function. Some surgeries are done to find a problem. For example, a surgeon may do a biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue to examine under a microscope. Some surgeries, like heart surgery, can save your life.
Some operations that once needed large incisions (cuts in the body) can now be done using much smaller cuts. This is called laparoscopic surgery. Surgeons insert a thin tube with a camera to see, and use small tools to do the surgery.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)