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Laparoscopy can be used for the diagnosis of GI disease. This pro-cedure is performed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. Special fiberoptic laparoscopes allow direct visualization of the organs and structures within the abdomen, permitting visu-alization and identification of any growths, anomalies, and in-flammatory processes. In addition, biopsy samples can be taken from the structures and organs as necessary. This procedure can be used to evaluate peritoneal disease, chronic abdominal pain, abdominal masses, and gallbladder and liver disease. However, laparoscopy has not become an important diagnostic modality in patients with acute abdominal pain, because less invasive tools (ie, CT and MRI) are readily available (Wolfe, 2000). Laparos-copy usually requires general anesthesia and sometimes requires that the stomach and bowel be decompressed. Gas (usually car-bon dioxide) is insufflated into the peritoneal cavity to create a working space for visualization. One of the most positive bene-fits of this procedure is that after visualization of a problem, ex-cision (eg, removal of the gallbladder) can then be performed at the same time, if appropriate.
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