What is a diagnostic laparoscopy?
A diagnostic laparoscopy is an operation to look at the abdominal and pelvic organs using a small telescope (laparoscope). In some circumstances, minor treatments can be performed at the same time.
A diagnostic laparoscopy will help to find out if you have endometriosis, pelvic infection, adhesions, damaged fallopian tubes, an ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts or fibroids.
What are the benefits of this type of surgery?
A diagnostic laparoscopy may allow your doctor to find out the cause of your symptoms.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
A scan may be used to find the cause of your symptoms.
What does the operation involve?
A diagnostic laparoscopy is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about fifteen minutes.
Your gynaecologist will make several small cuts on your abdomen. They will place surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation (see figure 1).
What complications can happen?
General complications of any operation:
- Infection in the surgical wound
- Unsightly scarring
- Blood clots
Specific complications of this operation:
- Damage to internal organs
- Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
- Surgical emphysema
- Failure to find out what the problem is
- Failed procedure
- Infection of the gynaecological organs or bladder
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day. A member of the healthcare team will tell you the results of the laparoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
You should rest for the first one to two days.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
A diagnostic laparoscopy helps to find out the cause of certain gynaecological problems. Some minor treatments can be performed at the same time.
Author: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG
Illustrations: Hannah Ravenscroft RM
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.
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