A laparoscopy is a procedure used to check the organs in the abdomen and can also check a woman’s pelvic organs.
A laparoscopy uses a thin lighted tube that has a video camera; the tube is called a laparoscope. It is put into a tiny cut or incision in your abdomen, and the images from the video camera can be seen on a computer screen.
One benefit of a laparoscopy is that it is minimally invasive which means a very small cut is made in your abdomen. A laparoscopy usually takes less time and has a faster recovery than open surgery.
A laparoscopy may be used to take a small tissue sample for testing and can be used to remove organs such as the appendix or the gallbladder.
An abdominal laparoscopy can be done to check the abdomen and its organs for:
A laparoscopy is often done when the results of a physical exam, X-ray or CT scan are not clear. It may be used to determine a stage of cancer for an abdominal organ and to check an abdominal injury as well. A laparoscopy can see where the injury is and how deep it is, and it can also see how much internal bleeding you have.
For women, a gynecologic laparoscopy may be used to check:
A laparoscopy can also be used to treat endometriosis; this is when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside it. A laparoscopy may be done to treat an ectopic pregnancy or to do a tubal ligation (tie the fallopian tubes) to permanently prevent pregnancy.
Possible complications may include bleeding from the incision, injury to the organs in the abdomen or the carbon dioxide gas entering places other than the abdomen.
Sometimes a laparoscopy is not advised; this may be the case if you:
There may be other risks depending on your medical condition; be sure to talk about any concerns with your provider before the procedure. Certain conditions may stop a laparoscopy from working well; this includes being obese or having bleeding in your abdomen.
Your physician may have other instructions for you based on your medical condition.
A laparoscopy may be done on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital; the way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your physician’s practices.
A laparoscopy is generally done while you are asleep under general anesthesia; your physician will choose the type base on the procedure and your overall health.
Generally, a laparoscopy follows this process:
After the procedure, you’ll be taken to the recovery room; your recovery process will vary depending on the type of anesthesia you had. You will be monitored closely. Once your blood pressure, pulse and breathing are stable and you are alert, you’ll be taken to your hospital room, or you may be sent home if this was an outpatient procedure.
When you are home, you must keep the incision clean and dry. Your physician will give you instructions on how to bathe. Any stitches or surgical staples will be taken out at a follow-up visit. If adhesive strings were used, they should be kept dry and will often fall off in a few days.
You may feel pain from the carbon dioxide gas still in your abdomen; this pain may last for a few days and may be felt in your shoulders. It should feel a bit better each day. You may take pain medicine as directed by your physician; aspirin or other pain medicines may raise your rise of bleeding. Only take medicines that your physician has approved.
Do not drink any carbonated liquids for 1 or 2 days after the procedure; you may slowly move on to more solid foods as directed. Tell your physician if you have nausea or if you vomit.
You may be told to limit your physical activity for a few days.
Call you physician if experience any of the following: