Laparoscopy is minimally invasive surgery that uses a small telescope equipped with a light and tiny camera (laparoscope) that is inserted through small incisions in your abdomen to let your doctor see inside your reproductive organs like your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Laparoscopy is a valuable part of a complete infertility evaluation. It can be helpful in diagnosing and treating gynecological issues like endometriosis, scar tissue, fibroids, ectopic pregnancy and ovarian cysts.
How do I prepare for laparoscopy?
Ask your doctor about any questions or concerns before you have the procedure. Your doctor will explain any special instructions, which usually include:
- If you smoke, quit.
- Complete any pre-op appointments with your surgeon, the laboratory and anesthesiology.
- DO not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
- Arrive two hours before your scheduled surgery time.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home.
What happens during laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is done under general anesthesia, which means you are asleep while it happens. During the procedure, your surgeon will make a small cut, usually less than half an inch long, in your belly button and insert the laparoscope. Your abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide gas to make your organs easier to see.
Your doctor uses the laparoscope to take pictures of your organs and puts them on a screen where they can be examined more closely. If greater visibility is needed, your doctor may make several small incisions to insert additional instruments or use a uterine manipulator inserted through your vagina and cervix to move your organs into view. The procedure does not cause pain in most cases. Laparoscopy procedures are done on an outpatient basis and do not require that you stay in the hospital overnight.
What can I expect after laparoscopy?
You should be able to return to your normal activities within one to two days. You may experience some tenderness and slight soreness and bruising around your navel and abdomen. You may feel weak and nauseous from the anesthesia. The gas placed in your abdomen may cause mild pain in your back and shoulders, but that discomfort should fade within a few days as the gas absorbs into your body. Ask your doctor how long you should wait before resuming sexual activities.
What are the risks of laparoscopy?
There are minimal risks with laparoscopy. As with any surgery, there is a small risk of anesthesia-related issues, bleeding or infection, but serious complications are rare.
When should I call my doctor?
Call our offices at 404-778-3401 if you experience:
- Severe or worsening pain
- Severe or worsening nauseau
- Heavy or increased bleeding
- Redness, swelling or irritation around your incision