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Why do I Need a Laparoscopy?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 10 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Laparoscopy; Surgery; Diagnosic;

A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure involving the insertion of a telescope into the abdomen. It can be performed as a diagnostic operation or in conjunction with key-hole surgical treatments.

Reasons For Needing a Laparoscopy

A laparoscopy is most often requested to determine a problem with the pelvic organs. It may be that there has been some unexplained pelvic pain such as in the case of cysts, endometriosis, fibroids or adhesions.

Perhaps it is that the person has been having problems with fertility and a laparoscopy is needed to see if the problem is with the female of the couple and if so, whereabouts in the reproductive system the problem lies.

Another common reason to undergo a laparoscopy is to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy in which case the pregnancy will be removed at the same time.

If your surgeon strongly suspects something, he or she will discuss having appropriate treatment at the same time as diagnosis removing the need for further anaesthetics and surgery. Whatever is discussed should be consented for and thoroughly explored before surgery.

There are many operations that can be carried out using the keyhole technique during which a laparoscopy is used to aid the surgeon.

How Is The Procedure Carried Out?

The procedure is carried out following general anaesthesia and can be done as a day patient if you have no other medical complaints and there are no complications.The abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide gas to enable to the surgeon to visualise the inside of the abdomen and allow for safer passage of the instruments as the cavity wall is lifted away from the major organs.

An incision is made, usually at the navel, and the telescope is inserted with a light source attached. The surgeon will assess all of the organs in the abdomen for signs of abnormalities or disease. If necessary another incision is made and further instruments introduced to enable the surgeon to retract the tissues or organs or to provide further treatments if necessary.

After the operation the gas is released from your abdomen and the instruments removed. The wounds will be stitched (usually with absorbable sutures or skin glue) and a dressing or protective barrier applied.

You will experience some pain or discomfort after the procedure but will have pain relief prescribed if requested.

Are There Any Risks?

The amount of risk involved depends largely on whether the laparoscopy is being carried out to find out the cause of a problem, or to treat as known complaint.

In general the risks involve the usual risks of receiving an anaesthetic, risk of bleeding, risk of damage to the bowel or pelvic organs and a slightly higher chance of suffering from a hernia at one of the wound sites. As with all operations there is a risk of infection not just from the procedure, but the care that it given to the wounds afterwards.

In general the risks associated with laparoscopic surgery are minimal as the procedures are developed and used everyday.

Laparoscopic surgery has been extremely beneficial to both the NHS and the patients. The recovery rate is much quicker, the surgical risks and complications are less and the time taken for surgery is usually a lot quicker.

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