Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is considered a valuable tool to evaluate and treat female infertility. It is a method of evaluating the ovaries, fallopian tubes and surrounding structures to see if they are normal. However, not all women need a laparoscopy as part of their evaluation.

Why It Is Done

A laparoscopy enables the healthcare provider to examine the outside of the uterus, the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. The procedure is often performed when the healthcare provider thinks endometriosis (inflammation of the uterine lining) is present. At the same time, the healthcare provider can determine if scar tissue is present (adhesions) or may be able to determine other causes if you have been experiencing pelvic pain. If endometriosis is present during the procedure, treatment can be done at the same time, which is an advantage of this test. Treatment may include the use of a laser or cautery to ‘cut away’ the endometriosis or adhesions.

How It Is Done

This outpatient surgical procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. A pencil-thin telescope-like instrument is inserted just beneath the navel to look for disease or the cause of infertility. This allows visualization of the abdominal and pelvic organs including the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Another smaller incision is made just above the pubic hairline to insert surgical instruments. Laparoscopy is sometimes referred to as ‘band-aid’ surgery since the incisions are very small and are usually covered with a band-aid (Steri-strip).

Often this procedure is photographed or videotaped to allow the healthcare provider/patient to view the findings and procedure at a later date. Recovery in the hospital usually takes an hour or two and after a few days (at most) at home, recovery is usually complete and normal activity can be resumed.


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