Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a small camera that allows direct visual examination of the pelvic reproductive anatomy, such as the outside of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is performed in women with unexplained infertility or signs of reversible tubal disease.
Laparoscopic procedures are generally “same-day” procedures where the patient comes in and is discharged on the same day. The procedure itself may take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on whether or not further surgery is performed and to what extent.
For the laparoscopy, two or more incisions are usually needed, one in the navel about a quarter inch across, and one or more incisions in the lower abdomen. Gas is placed in the abdomen so that the pelvic organs may be viewed.
The laparoscope is placed through the navel incision, while the other instruments are placed through the smaller incisions. The pelvis is then carefully inspected, and usually some dye is passed into the fallopian tubes to make sure they are open.
If no abnormalities are found, the gas is removed and the incisions are closed with an absorbable or with special glue. If required, further surgery will be done after all the pelvic organs have been inspected.
Any type of surgery has some potential risks. Rarely, one of the abdominal or pelvic organs, including the bowel, bladder, or blood vessels may be injured when the laparoscope or one of the instruments is placed. This is more common in women who have had previous abdominal surgery, pelvic adhesions, or who are overweight, but may occur in any patient.
Should this happen, a larger incision allows repair of the damaged organ. This would result in a hospital admission for recuperation. Very rarely damage to an organ may occur but not be recognized at the time of surgery. This would lead to additional surgery on an emergency basis and, if the bowel has been damaged, temporary placement of a colostomy.