is a diagnostic laparoscopy?
laparoscopy is a procedure where the doctor uses a laparoscope to
look inside the peritoneal cavity. A laparoscope is a thin tube
with a tiny camera and the peritoneal cavity is the space that contains
most of the abdominal and pelvic organs. The cavity is filled with
gas so that the physician can better see the organs.
is laparoscopy used?
diagnostic laparoscopy is often used in the infertility evaluation.
Many times it is possible to treat conditions, such as endometriosis,
during the diagnostic laparoscopy. This is the reason that the laparoscopy
for infertility should be conducted by an infertility specialist.
Laparoscopy is usually indicated in the following situations:
fluid in the peritoneal cavity.
An unexplained defect seen on a liver scan.
A possible tubal pregnancy or undiagnosed pelvic mass.
upon the potential causes of infertility, there are alternatives
to laparoscopy, which include:
other procedures, such as abdominal surgery.
Having a liver biopsy.
x-rays and/or sonograms taken.
to prepare for a diagnostic laparoscopy?
for help and care during the recovery period after the laparoscopy.
Follow the instructions provided by the health-care staff. Eat a
light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure.
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight and the morning before
the procedure. If these instructions are not followed, the procedure
will be canceled.
happens during the laparoscopy?
receive a general anesthetic which eliminates all pain associated
with the actual laparoscopy. The peritoneal cavity is filled with
carbon dioxide gas inflating it like a balloon, which helps the
doctor see the organs. The doctor makes a small cut near the belly
button, puts in the gas, and then puts the laparoscope through the
physician may put other tools through small cuts elsewhere in the
abdomen. To look at the pelvis, for example, the doctor puts a tool
through a small cut in the lower abdomen. The doctor guides the
laparoscope to explore the area and look at certain organs.
the doctor finds a growth that should not be there, he or she may
use the other tool to take a sample of the growth to send to the
lab for analysis or the growth might be removed. When finished,
the doctor removes the laparoscope and the other tools and sews
up the cuts.
happens after the laparoscopy?
remain in the hospital for several hours, or rarely overnight, to
recover from the anesthetic and be observed for any potential post
surgical problems. The anesthetic may cause sleepiness or "grogginess"
for a while. Patients sometimes have shoulder pain and a "bloated"
feeling. There may also be a change in bowel habits for a few days
after the laparoscopy. Activities such as heavy lifting should be
are the benefits of the laparoscopy?
laparoscopy helps the doctor make a more accurate diagnosis without
extensive surgery. Then further treatment, such as medication or
surgery, can be recommended.
are the risks associated with a laparoscopy?
is always some risk associated with general anesthesia and surgery
and concerns should be discussed with the physician and anesthesiologist.
abdominal organs, intestines, or blood vessels may be damaged.
The doctor may need to perform abdominal surgery to repair them
at the time of the procedure.
peritoneal cavity may become inflamed.
or bleeding is possible.
may be some pain after the procedure.
should the physician be called?
the doctor immediately if:
patient develops a fever.
there is redness, swelling, pain, or drainage from the small incisions.
there is dizziness or fainting.
the patient develops chest pain.
there is nausea and vomiting.
of shortness of breath.
there is abdominal pain or swelling that gets worse.
the doctor during regular office hours if:
are questions about the procedure or its results.
make another appointment.
Robert B. McWilliams, MD