Laparoscopy Treatment & Surgery
What is a laparoscopy?
A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure used to inspect, and operate on, the organs inside the abdomen (the belly) and pelvis. A laparoscopy is known as ‘minimally invasive’ surgery. This means it’s less taxing on the body than other types of surgery, with smaller incisions (cuts), less pain, lower risk of complications such as bleeding or infection, and a quicker recovery time.
What happens in a laparoscopy, step by step?
The operation is carried out under general anaesthetic, so you are in a sleep-like state and not able to feel pain. Small incisions are made on the abdomen, usually 0.5-1cm long. A thin flexible telescope and other fine instruments are then inserted through these incisions.
During the procedure, the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas. This allows the organs inside to be seen more clearly. In a standard laparoscopy for endometriosis, the surgeon will check the reproductive organs and pelvis for abnormal deposits of endometrial tissue, scarring or cysts and, if appropriate, remove this tissue from the organs.
At the end of the laparoscopy, the telescope and instruments are removed, the gas is let out and the incisions are closed with surgical stitches, tape or glue.
The number of incisions and how long the procedure takes depends on the amount of surgery that is needed. For example, a standard laparoscopy for endometriosis may involve four incisions and take 45-60 minutes. Frequently, a laparoscopy is a day procedure, which means you don’t have to stay overnight in the hospital or clinic.
What conditions or symptoms may require a laparoscopy?
A laparoscopy may be needed to diagnose and/or treat:
- Pain – abdominal/pelvic pain or severe period pain
- Ovarian conditions such as ovarian cysts
- Emergency situations such as an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy not in the uterus).