Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the interior of the abdominal or pelvic cavities for the diagnosis or treatment (or both) of a number of different diseases and conditions. The advantage of laparoscopy is that only a small incision is required; this is why laparoscopy is also known as ‘keyhole surgery’.

Laparoscopy examines the interior of the abdominal or pelvic cavity using a slender tube (laparoscopy), usually consisting of a fibre-optic cable which is inserted via a small incision in the relevant area.

The laparoscope transmits images to a video screen in the operating room. Prior to the advent of laparoscopy, doctors had to make large openings and cut through layers of tissue in order to examine internal organs. Laparoscopy greatly reduces the patient’s recovery time.

A pre-surgery consultation with your Doctor will cover some of the following:

  • The likely outcome of surgery
  • The possible risks and complications of laparoscopy
  • Medical history, including allergic reactions to any drugs or prior problems with anaesthesia.

Laparoscopy: Diagnosis & treatment

Female infertility

Laparoscopy allows doctors to check for problems such as scar tissue, endometriosis and fibroid tumours, and to see if the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are abnormal in any way.

Ectopic pregnancy
The embryo lodges and grows within the fallopian tube. The developing embryo will eventually rupture the fallopian tube unless it is surgically removed.

The presence of scar tissue within the pelvic cavity.

Diseases of the urinary system
Laparoscopy can be used to investigate or treat (or both) cancerous and non-cancerous conditions of the kidney, blockage of the ureter, bladder disease and incontinence.

Cancers of the internal organs
Cancers of the liver and pancreas can be diagnosed using laparoscopy.

Fluid inside the abdominal cavity; laparoscopy can help determine the cause.

Other problems of the female reproductive system

Vaginal prolapse and issues associated with the pelvic floor as well as some types of hysterectomy can also be performed using laparoscopic surgery.

The Procedure

Laparoscopy can be performed under local or general anaesthetic, depending on the nature of the procedure. After the incision is made , the laparoscope is inserted into the abdominal cavity. Either carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide gas is then passed into the cavity to separate the abdominal wall from the underlying organs. This makes the examination of the internal organs easier and more accurate.

Anywhere between one and three more incisions are made to allow access to other surgical instruments, for example, a laser. Once a diagnosis is made or the problem is removed (or both), the instruments are taken out, the gas allowed to escape and the incisions sewn shut. The stitches may need to be removed by the doctor at a later stage or else they will dissolve by themselves.

After the procedure, you can expect:

  • Soreness around the incision site. You may need pain killing medication
  • Shoulder pain, caused by the gas pumped into the abdominal cavity
  • A sensation of abdominal bloating
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps, and others

For pelvic procedures only, light bleeding or discharge from the vagina

Patients are advised not to drive home following laparoscopy due to the medication given prior to the procedure – make sure you have a relative or friend to take you home from hospital or call a taxi.

Most symptoms of laparoscopic surgery resolve within one or two days – if not, see your doctor.