In the late 1980s the first laparoscopic cholecystectomies were performed prompting a sudden rise in technological innovations as the benefits and feasibility of minimal access surgery became recognised. Monocular laparoscopes provided only two-dimensional (2D) viewing with reduced depth perception and contributed to an extended learning curve. Attention turned to producing a usable three-dimensional (3D) endoscopic view for surgeons; utilising different technologies for image capture and image projection. These evolving visual systems have been assessed in various research environments with conflicting outcomes of success and usability, and no overall consensus to their benefit. This review article aims to provide an explanation of the different types of technologies, summarise the published literature evaluating 3D vs 2D laparoscopy, to explain the conflicting outcomes, and discuss the current consensus view.
Keywords: Endoscopy; Minimally invasive surgery; Stereoscopic; Three-dimensional displays; Three-dimensional laparoscopy.