What is a diagnostic laparoscopy?

A diagnostic laparoscopy is an operation using keyhole surgery to look at your abdominal and pelvic organs. For some people minor treatments can be performed at the same time.

What are the benefits of surgery?

A diagnostic laparoscopy is good for finding out the cause of lower abdominal and pelvic pain, as well as certain period problems and infertility.

When performed for gynecological reasons, the operation will help to find out if you have endometriosis, pelvic infection, adhesions, damaged fallopian tubes, an ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts or fibroids.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

It may be appropriate to try to find the cause of your symptoms using a blood test, x-rays and scans.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about 15-20 minutes.

Your surgeon will make several small cuts on your abdomen

They will insert surgical instruments along with a telescope so they can see inside your abdomen and perform any minor procedures (see figure 1).

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

Pain

Feeling or being sick

Bleeding

Infection of the surgical site (wound)

Unsightly scarring

Blood clots

2 Specific complications

Damage to internal structures

Developing a hernia

Surgical emphysema

Failure to find out what the problem is

Failed procedure

Infection of the pelvic or gynaecological organs or bladder

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the laparoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

Rest for one to two days and take painkillers if you need them.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

A diagnostic laparoscopy helps to find out the cause of certain abdominal, pelvic or gynaecological problems. For some people minor treatments can be performed at the same time.

Acknowledgements

Authors: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG, Dr Clare Myers MBBS FRANZCOG, Prof Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.) and Mr James Catton FRCS

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

 


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