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(Peritoneoscopy, Gynecologic Laparoscopy, Pelviscopy, Exploratory Laparoscopy)
Laparoscopy is a procedure used to examine the organs of the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopy utilizes a laparoscope, a thin flexible tube containing a video camera. The laparoscope is placed through a small incision in the abdomen and produces images that can be seen on a computer screen. A similar procedure can be used to look at the organs of the pelvis (gynecologic laparoscopy or pelviscopy).
The advantage of laparoscopy is that it allows a direct view of the abdominal organs and structures without the need for major surgery. Laparoscopy may also be used to perform biopsies or surgical procedures such as an appendectomy or cholecystectomy (removal of gallbladder). As laparoscopic techniques improve, more applications are being used. Robotically-assisted laparoscopy may be used for certain procedures. This technique requires specialized equipment and training, but may offer benefits for some patients and conditions.
Other related procedures that may be used to examine the abdomen include abdominal x-ray, computed tomography (CT scan) of the abdomen, abdominal ultrasound, and abdominal angiogram. Please see these procedures for additional information.
The abdomen contains organs of the gastrointestinal, urinary, endocrine, and reproductive systems. An abdominal laparoscopy may be performed to assess the abdomen and its organs for tumors and other lesions, injuries, intra-abdominal bleeding, infections, unexplained abdominal pain, obstructions, or other conditions, particularly when another type of examination such as physical examination, x-ray, or CT scan is not conclusive.
Laparoscopy may be used to determine the stage of cancer of the abdominal organs. It may also be used to evaluate abdominal trauma, including the depth and location of injury, and the extent of intra-abdominal bleeding.
Gynecologic laparoscopy may be used to assess pelvic pain and problems, ovarian cysts, and fibroids, and to evaluate the fallopian tubes in women experiencing infertility. Other uses include treating endometriosis and removing an ectopic pregnancy in the fallopian tube.
There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a laparoscopy.
As with any surgical procedure, complications may occur. Possible complications of laparoscopy include, but are not limited to, bleeding from the site of insertion and misplacement of the gas used to help visualize the organs.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your physician.
In certain situations, laparoscopy may be contraindicated. These situations include patients with advanced abdominal wall malignancies, chronic tuberculosis, thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) or other bleeding problems, multiple surgical adhesions, and patients taking blood thinning medication.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with a laparoscopy. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
A laparoscopy may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.
A laparoscopy is generally performed while you are asleep under general anesthesia. However, your physician will determine the type of anesthesia based on the reason for the procedure and your overall health status.
Generally, a laparoscopy follows this process:
After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Your recovery process will vary depending upon the type of anesthesia that is given. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room or discharged to your home. As a laparoscopy procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis, you may be discharged home from the recovery room.
Once you are home, it is important to keep the surgical incisions clean and dry. Your physician will give you specific bathing instructions. If stitches or surgical staples are used, they will be removed during a follow-up office visit. If adhesive strips are used, they should be kept dry and generally will fall off within a few days.
You may experience shoulder pain from the carbon dioxide gas that remains in your abdomen. This pain may last for a few days but should become less intense each day. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications.
Avoid drinking carbonated beverages for one to two days after the procedure. This will help minimize the discomfort associated with the carbon dioxide gas. In addition, drinking carbonated beverages may cause nausea.
You may be allowed to drink clear fluids within a few hours of the procedure. Your diet may gradually be advanced to more solid foods as tolerated.
You may be instructed to limit physical activity for several days after the procedure.
Notify your physician to report and of the following:
Following a laparoscopy, your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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