Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure that uses a telescopic camera system to visualize abdominal and reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries). The surgeon makes tiny incisions (approximately 0.5 to 1 cm) in the abdomen through which a thin, fiber-optic tube fitted with a light and camera is inserted. Suspicious growths can be biopsied and repairs can be made during a laparoscopy, making more invasive surgery unnecessary.
The advantages to laparoscopy over an open abdomen procedure include:
Laparoscopic surgery is usually performed only after other infertility testing has been done. Certain patients with fertility problems may benefit from a diagnostic and/or an operative laparoscopy. For example, if you have pelvic pain that is symptomatic of endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), your doctor may use laparoscopy to determine the source of the pain (adhesions, scar tissue) and treat it.
At the time of your surgery, your doctor will examine your fallopian tubes to see if they are open. In addition, laparoscopy will evaluate the relationship between your ovaries and fallopian tubes.
An ectopic pregnancy is located in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. It can cause abdominal pain and bleeding. Laparoscopy is utilized to diagnose and treat ectopic pregnancies.
The procedure begins by establishing an IV line through which fluids and medication to help you relax are delivered. General anesthesia is then administered, meaning you’ll be unconscious throughout the procedure. The surgeon makes a small incision on the abdomen and carbon dioxide gas is pumped in to expand it and make it easier to maneuver the laparoscope and see the organs. Two or three additional incisions are made through which the laparoscope and surgical instruments are inserted. The laparoscope produces images of your reproductive organs on a television screen.
The surgeon uses those images to evaluate the abdominal and pelvic organs, looking for cysts, fibroids, adhesions, scar tissue and endometrial growths. A dye may be injected through the cervix to see if the fallopian tubes are open. Sample tissue may be taken and tested for abnormalities. If repair is necessary, microsurgical instruments are inserted through the other abdominal incisions, allowing your physician to cut adhesions or remove endometriosis.
After your procedure, the incisions are closed and you will go home the same day. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers for any discomfort. You should restrict your activities for a day or so, longer if repairs have been made.
If you have any of these symptoms, let your nurse or physician know.
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