Exploratory Laparoscopy Laparoscopy In The Female

Overview & Description

A laparoscopy is any surgical procedure that uses alaparoscope. A laparoscope is a thin tube attached to a light source that isinserted through a small incision in the belly button.With it, a doctor can see the pelvic and abdominal organs.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

The goal of laparoscopy is to find the cause of a problemwithout making a big cut or incision in the upper or lower abdomen. Ifa pelvic or abdominal ultrasound has shown something abnormal,laparoscopy is often used to confirm the findings. A woman may needa laparoscopy for many reasons. Some symptoms that may lead to theprocedure include:

  • chronic pelvic pain that a doctor suspects is from a pelvic infection;endometriosis, which is a condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus growsoutside the uterus, resulting in pain and/or infertility; or ovarian cysts
  • infertility, which causes a woman to have a hard time getting pregnant
  • A doctor may also use laparoscopy to remove these organsor growths:

  • hernia
  • gallbladder
  • appendix
  • small fibroids, which are benign or non-cancerous tumors of the uterus
  • A doctor may use this procedure to diagnose,evaluate, or treat these conditions:

  • a hole, tear, or puncture in the uterus that occurred after adilatation and curettage.This is a procedure in which the inside lining of the uterus is scraped with a specialinstrument.
  • a hole, tear, or puncture in the uterus from hysteroscopy,which is a procedure where a thin tube with a light source is insertedthrough the vagina in order to see inside the uterus
  • a hole, tear, or puncture in the uterus from placement of a birth control devicecalled an IUD
  • endometriosis, which is the growth of uterine tissue outside of theuterus
  • small growths in the ovaries called cysts
  • unruptured ectopic pregnancy,which occurs when a baby implants and grows outside the uterus
  • the presence of fluid in the abdomen, which could be due to blood,ascites, or cancer cells
  • a pelvic mass
  • an unexplained abnormal liver scan
  • A doctor may also use this procedure for these reasons:

  • to follow-up after surgery for ovarian cancer
  • to aid in a sterilization procedure called tubal ligation, which keeps the woman frombecoming pregnant
  • to treat scar tissue, called adhesions, in the pelvic area
  • How is the procedure performed?

    First, the woman receives general anesthesia. This relaxesthe abdominal muscles, leads to a deep sleep, and prevents the sensationof pain. Then, the doctor makes a small cut below her belly button. Thedoctor puts the laparoscope through this cut. Then, the doctor inflates theabdominal cavity with 2 to 5 liters of carbon dioxide gas. Thishelps the doctor see the organs in the region. Next, the doctor makesone to three smaller cuts on the lower abdomen. These are used forinstruments that might be needed to hold an organ, to take a biopsy sample,or to apply a laser to any lesions.

    The doctor also uses the laparoscope to see thefollowing parts of the body:

  • uterus
  • fallopian tubes
  • ovaries
  • bladder
  • intestines
  • liver
  • spleen
  • appendix
  • surfaces of the abdominal cavities themselves
  • After the doctor has viewed or removed what is needed, thecuts are closed with stitches. These may heal by themselves or mayneed to be removed in the doctor’s office a week later. The procedureusually takes about an hour. The woman stays in a recoveryroom for one to three hours while anesthesia wears off. Sometimes,the woman may need to stay overnight in the hospital if she has troublewaking up or if there are any complications.

    Preparation & Expectations

    What happens right after the procedure?

    The doctor will discuss the findings and treatment optionsafter the procedure.

    Home Care and Complications

    What happens later at home?

    For a few hours after the surgery, the woman may feelsleepy or groggy. She should not drive or use heavy machinery for24 hours. The most common complaints after laparoscopy include:

  • shoulder pain, caused from gas that has built up under the diaphragm
  • feeling bloated
  • pain at the incision sites
  • cramping
  • constipation
  • These symptoms usually improve within 24 to 48 hoursafter surgery.

    What are the potential complications after the procedure?

    Because sharp instruments are used during surgery,trauma may occur to any organ within the abdomen. Other complicationsinclude:

  • problems related to the anesthesia, which include reactions tomedicines and having trouble breathing
  • a bloody swelling, called a hematoma, around the cut
  • infection of the cut
  • puncture of the aorta, which is the main artery of the heart
  • bleeding in the abdomen
  • Article type: xmedgeneral