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Laparoscopy Basics

From the Treatment Alternatives Articles List

Laparoscopy 101What is a laparoscopy?

A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that allows your surgeon to look inside your abdominal and pelvic region. The surgery can be used for both diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Your laparoscopy will be done in a surgical facility under anesthesia. Depending on what all your surgeon plans, you could have an incision in your belly button, at your pubic bone, and on each hip. These incisions are usually no more than an inch in length and may be closed with glue, stitches, and/or Steri-Strips.

During the surgery, your surgeon will inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas (CO2) to give him/her more room to see and work. He will then insert a laparoscope in one of the incisions which will magnify the area onto a video camera. Using the laparoscope, your surgeon will be able to view your pelvic organs, including your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, and may check other organs such as your gall bladder, appendix, and spleen. The surgery can allow your surgeon to check for several different conditions, including endometriosis, ovarian cysts, an ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disesase (PID), fibroids, adhesions, or a hernia.

During the laparoscopy, your surgeon may also treat certain medical issues that are found. To perform surgical procedures, additional tools would be inserted into one of the small incisions. Depending the skill of your surgeon, endometriosis, adhesions, and cysts can be removed. A tubal ligation, salpingectomy, and oophorectomy can also be done during a laparoscopy. Certain hernias could also be repaired. When necessary, an appendectomy can also be done. The length of your procedure will depend on what is done.

A laparoscopy is often done on an outpatient basis; however, if extensive work was done, you may need to stay at least one night in the hospital. You will need someone to drive you home, and recovery can last from a couple days to a week or two depending on what procedures were completed. Depending on what was done during your surgery, you may feel tender and sore for a few days. The anesthesia may also make you feel sleepy. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications or suggest over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). You could feel soreness near your incisions, as well as internal soreness if extensive work was done. Additionally, you may experience some shoulder pain from the CO2.

While a laparoscopy is fairly safe, it is still a surgery; thus, there are some risks involved. These include infection, anesthesia reactions, organ injury, internal bleeding, and incision problems. You should not experience fever, severe or worsening pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, fainting, or red, swollen, seeping incisions. If you experience any of those symptoms, call your doctor immediately.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

03-24-2014 - 10:24 PM


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