Laparoscopy is a surgical technique in which a gynecologist makes several small incisions into your abdomen and uses a small, fiber-optic tube or telescope with an attached camera to visualize your abdominal and reproductive organs.
The laparoscopy is an alternative to open surgery, which involves making a single, long incision into the abdomen. Open surgery has a longer recovery time and a greater risk of complications when compared to laparoscopy. A laparoscopy may be done in your gynecologist’s office or in an outpatient hospital setting. Local or regional anesthesia is used, and you will be able to go home on the same day as your procedure.
How a Laparoscopy Gynecological Procedure Works
In a laparoscopy procedure, the gynecologist numbs your abdomen and then provides you with an anesthetic medicine to minimize pain and sedate you. A few small, one-inch long incisions are made into your abdomen. One of the incisions is for the laparoscopy telescope. This device transmits images that can be seen on a monitor in real time. Your gynecologist will use the images to diagnose a medical condition or to guide the movement of surgical instruments.
Laparoscopy can be done to diagnose a medical problem such as endometriosis or to treat a condition of your reproductive organs. If you are having a therapeutic laparoscopy, the other incisions will be used for the insertion of thin, long-handled surgical instruments. The doctor will move the laparoscope as needed so that he or she can see the area that needs treatment. Once your procedure is complete and the instruments are removed, the incisions will be stitched shut.
Candidates for Laparoscopy
A diagnostic laparoscopy may be performed if you have pain with an undetermined cause. The scope can be used to find problems such as scar tissue, cancer, or a non-cancerous growth. A therapeutic laparoscopy may be used to treat endometriosis or uterine fibroids or to remove a tumor from the uterus, fallopian tube, or ovary. Laparoscopy is also used to remove ovarian cysts.
Your gynecologist may perform a tubal ligation through laparoscopy. A hysterectomy can also be performed through laparoscopic surgery. A laparoscopic procedure may also be performed if you have an ectopic pregnancy that is at risk of rupturing or that has already ruptured.
You are also a candidate for a gynecological laparoscopy if you have unexplained pelvic pain that persists for more than six weeks or that is worsening. The procedure may be performed after non-surgical imaging studies and exams have not found a source for your pain. You could also be a candidate for laparoscopy if you have unexplained infertility or an infection in your pelvis.
Your gynecologist perform a laparoscopic surgery to treat your excessive menstrual bleeding, painful cramping, or pelvic adhesion, or to drain pelvic fluid. Laparoscopy can also be used to remove pelvic tumors and reproductive cancers. Women with incontinence or a prolapsed uterus are also candidates for a laparoscopic surgery.