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Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is an exploratory procedure which allows the Gynaecologist to see the organs inside the pelvis and abdomen. The laparoscope, the instrument used, is like a narrow telescope about the width of a pen and enables the doctor to see into the abdominal cavity.

Reasons for Laparoscopy

1. Diagnostic purposes

  • to investigate pelvic pain
  • to investigate infertility
  • to examine cysts and tumours
  • to obtain biopsy specimens
  • to investigate suspected ectopic pregnancy

2. For sterilization or tubal ligation.

3. To treat ectopic pregnancy.

4. To treat conditions such as pelvic adhesions (scar tissue inside the abdomen) or endometriosis.

5. The laparoscope may be used in some advanced gynaecological procedures such as hysterectomy, bladder suspension and ovarian cysts.

About the procedure

A general anaesthetic is given. A small cut is made in the umbilicus (belly button) and carbon dioxide gas is introduced into the abdominal cavity. Further instruments can then be inserted to manipulate contents of the abdominal cavity.

Recovery

Following the operation a woman may experience some symptoms which may last a day or two:

  • fatigue and muscle pain
  • mild nausea relates to the anaesthetic
  • pain at the site of the incisions
  • an ache in the shoulder area and under the rib cage due to a small amount of gas remaining under the diaphragm
  • cramps similar to menstrual cramps
  • mild bleeding or vaginal discharge
  • a sensation of swelling in the abdomen

Discharge from hospital

This is usually achieved on the same day as the operation. Normal physical and sexual activity can be resumed when the bleeding and discomfort have disappeared.