What is a Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is one of the most common procedures used for both diagnosing and treating gynaecological problems.

This procedure involves having a general anaesthetic. Whilst under anaesthetic, a needle is inserted into the abdomen, via the navel. This enables carbon dioxide gas to be passed into the abdominal cavity to lift the wall of the abdomen away from the organs eg bowel, bladder and blood vessels. A 1cm long cut is made in the navel. Through this the laparoscope is passed. This is a cylindrical instrument 1cm in diameter, with a light and camera attached. A clear view can be obtained of the abdominal and pelvic organs. A small probe is then inserted through the abdominal wall through a second small cut, which can be used to move the pelvic organs slightly, to enable a better view. Abnormalities of the pelvic organs can then be seen.

As well as being a diagnostic procedure as above, many operative procedures can be carried out laparoscopically. This involves 1 or 2 additional 5 to 10mm long cuts being made in the lower abdomen to allow the passage of other instruments. Examples of procedures which can often be performed laparoscopically include sterilisation, treatment of ectopic pregnancies, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, adhesions (scar tissue), removal of ovaries and hysterectomy.

The advantages of laparoscopy over an open operation (laparotomy) include a much quicker recovery and reduced post operative problems.

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    Risks of laparoscopy

    Serious complications are rare. The most important risks are of injury to bowel, bladder, blood vessels or other organs. The chances of this are around 2 per 1000 cases.

    After the operation

    You can expect your abdomen to feel bruised and your navel tender. Sometimes discomfort is felt in the shoulders. This is from some of the carbon dioxide gas left behind – most is removed. You may feel nauseous after the anaesthetic. Most women go home on the day of the laparoscopy, and feel back to normal in a few days. Worsening of pain, worsening nausea/vomiting, development of a high fever or significant bleeding from a wound site are symptoms which may indicate a complication and you should contact Mr Chilcott via the Portland Hospital if they occur.