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Laparoscopy

During a laparoscopy, a small telescope (laparoscope) is inserted into the abdomen to look directly at the internal tissue to diagnose the presence pelvic pathology eg endometriosis. This test is conducted under a general anaesthetic.


Introduction

Laparoscopy is a keyhole (or minimally invasive) surgical procedure performed under general anaesthetic. It involves inserting a thin fiber-optic telescope fitted with a light and camera through a small incision, usually in the belly button, enabling visualisation of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This helps us diagnose and treat any defects such as scar tissue, endometriosis, fibroids or any other abnormalities.

Any abnormalities can be corrected using an operative laparoscopy which involves inserting surgical tools through other small incisions in the lower abdomen, usually at the top of the pubic hair line, which enable the reproductive surgeon to operate from a point of triangulation. This is less invasive than a traditional surgical procedure, leading to a quicker recovery time and reduced scarring.

Who?

A laparoscopy is usually required to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions that can develop in the woman’s reproductive organs, including endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, cysts, uterine/pelvic adhesions and blocked fallopian tubes.


How?

All laparoscopies are conducted under general anaesthetic, so that you will not feel any pain or discomfort throughout the procedure. Your surgeon will make one or more small incisions in your abdomen through which they can insert the laparoscope and any required surgical tools. They will inflate your abdomen with gas through a tube to make it easier for them to see the areas on which to operate.

When concluded, the gas is released out from your abdomen and the incisions are closed with stitches. The sites will then have a dressing applied and you will be taken to recovery to awaken. Typically the procedure can last between 20 minutes to 2 hours but it may be longer if substantial operative work is required.


What next?

You will be discharged from the clinic approximately two hours after your surgery and will need to be accompanied home to rest. You will usually need to take off 1-2 days from work. Mild to moderate pain should be anticipated for 7-10 days after the procedure and can be alleviated with over the counter pain relief.

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What are the side-effects/risks?

This is a commonly performed procedure and whilst complications are typically rare, minor complications resulting from this surgery can include a post-operative infection or bruising around the incision site(s) and some women may experience feeling sick or tearful after having had a general anaesthetic. There is also the very rare possibility of damage to other organs in the pelvis such as your bowel or bladder or damage to a major artery but this is extremely unusual when a laparoscopy is expertly performed on healthy women.

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