Laparoscopy looks at the outside of the ovary, uterus, the fallopian tubes and other abdominal organs. Although this surgical procedure is a diagnostic test, it can also treat blockages, endometriosis, adhesions, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy or uterine fibroids. Hydrosalpinx, a condition of fluid in the fallopian tubes, can also be identified and treated with laparoscopy. This procedure may also be used for the purposes of egg retrieval during in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.

How It Works

A laparoscope is a lighted tube that is inserted through an incision in the navel. Carbon dioxide gas is inserted into the abdomen to push away the internal organs. The laparoscope allows healthcare providers to literally see a woman’s reproductive organs and determine if any blockages or other problems exist. If a blockage is diagnosed, it can be treated at that time. If endometriosis or adhesions (scar tissue) are seen, they can be corrected by laser or electrocautery during the laparoscopy as well.

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Risks/Side Effects

There are risks and side effects associated with laparoscopy. It is usually performed on an out-patient basis, but carries some surgical risk as it is performed under general anaesthesia. Very few women develop complications as a result of this procedure, most of which are minor. The most common risks associated with this procedure are post-operative bladder infection and skin irritations. Adhesions, internal bruising and infections may also occur. Serious complications are rare, but may include damage to the bowel, bladder, ureters, uterus, blood vessels or nearby organs, and injuries related to the instruments used in the procedure. Certain conditions, including previous abdominal surgeries, bowel/pelvic adhesions, pelvic infections, obesity or excessive thinness, and severe endometriosis may increase the risk of serious complications. Your healthcare provider will discuss important safety information and post-operative care with you.

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Depending on your diagnosis and the goals of the individual procedure, laparoscopy success rates vary widely. You should discuss the expected results in your case with your healthcare provider.

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