Laparoscopy is direct visualization of the peritoneal cavity, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and the ovaries by using a special scope (laproscope). This instrument is like a miniature telescope with a fiber optic system that brings light into the pelvic region and abdominal cavity. This procedure is a minimally invasive way to assess for the causes of female infertility. Gynecologic laparoscopy is used to assess pelvic pain, find ovarian cysts, discover fibroids and polyps, evaluate the fallopian tubes, and diagnose endometriosis. Laparoscopy is also used to determine the stage of abdominal organ cancers, such as the liver, colon, or spleen. Additionally, the surgeon can evaluate abdominal trauma with this procedure, determine the extent of intra-abdominal bleeding, and correct the problem. The advantage of this procedure is that it allows a direct view of the internal abdominal and pelvic structures without a large incision or major surgery.

Overview of the Laparoscopy


Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that uses a lighted, thin tube inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic structures. Laparoscopy is used to find problems, such as adhesions, cysts, infection, polyps, and fibroids. During the procedure, the doctor often takes a tissue sample by biopsy. Where laparotomy surgery requires a large abdominal incision, laparoscopy is done through a smaller one, so it is less costly, less problematic, and patients have fewer problems following the procedure.

Why Laparoscopy is Done

  • Check for abnormal growths and tumors in the abdomen and pelvis.
  • Diagnose conditions that cause infertility, such as endometriosis, pelvic. inflammatory disease (PID), or ectopic pregnancy
  • Discover causes of infertility, such as cysts, fibroids, infection, and adhesions.
  • Do a biopsy.
  • Perform a tubal ligation.
  • Check for damage to the internal organs after an accident.
  • Look for cancer.
  • Repair hernias.
  • Take out diseased organs, such as the uterus or gallbladder.
  • Diagnose the cause of ongoing pelvic pain.


Before the laparoscopy, you make be given an enema in order to empty your colon. Some doctors let you do this at home the day before the procedure. Expect to have general anesthesia and an intravenous (IV) line. You will have to empty your bladder an hour before the surgery and receive a sedative to help you relax.

Things to Consider

  • Before the procedure, you should stop eating or drinking after midnight.
  • Be sure to arrange to have someone drive you home following the laparoscopy.
  • Don't wear jewelry or bring valuables to the health care facility.
  • Remove contacts, dentures, or glasses.

Tell the Doctor

  • If you have bleeding problems.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as aspirin or Coumadin.
  • If you are or could be pregnant.
  • If you have allergies to anesthesia or medications.

During the Procedure

Once you are put to sleep, an airway is placed in your throat to help with breathing. A urinary catheter is put into your bladder via the urethra. The pubic hair is shaved, and your pelvic and abdominal area is cleansed with a special soap.

During the laparoscopy, small incisions are made in the abdomen for the laproscope and surgical tools. Gas is put into the abdomen to inflate it and lift the organs. The doctor uses the scope and tools to diagnose and repair damage, remove growths, drain cysts, and take tissue samples.

Once the procedure is finished, the doctor removes the gas and surgical tools and closes the incisions with stitches. This is covered with a bandage. The procedure takes around 30 to 50 minutes to perform, but if much treatment or repair is needed, it could last for up to 100 minutes.

How it Feels

The general anesthesia will cause you to have mild sore throat, hoarseness, nausea, dizziness, and grogginess. Throat lozenges and salt water gargles will help with the sore throat and hoarseness, and the other side effects gradually wear off.

Risks of the Laparoscopy

  • Bleeding from the incisions.
  • Damage to internal organ(s).
  • Infection.
  • Damage to blood vessel(s).

After the Procedure

After you wake up, you will be moved to a recovery area for a few hours. Once you are considered stable, you either are released home or sent to a hospital room. The nurse will give you special instructions regarding home care of your incisions. Do not drink carbonated beverages for two days after the laparoscopy to avoid gas pains and vomiting. You will experience mind achiness in your shoulder or abdomen for a couple of days.

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