Diagnostic Laparoscopy

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Issued November 2017

Expires end of December 2018

This document will give you information about a diagnostic laparoscopy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or relevant health professional.

What is a diagnostic laparoscopy?

A diagnostic laparoscopy is an operation using keyhole surgery to look at your abdominal and pelvic organs. For some women minor treatments can be performed at the same time.

What are the benefits of surgery?

A diagnostic laparoscopy is good for finding out the cause of lower abdominal and pelvic pain, certain period problems and infertility. The operation will help to find out if you have endometriosis, pelvic infection, adhesions, damaged fallopian tubes, an ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts or fibroids.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

It may be appropriate to try to find the cause of your symptoms using a blood test, x-rays and scans.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about 15 minutes.

Your gynaecologist will make several small cuts on your abdomen (see figure 1).

They will insert surgical instruments, along with a telescope, inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots

2 Specific complications

  • Surgical emphysema
  • Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
  • Damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • 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. The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the laparoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

Rest for one to two days and take painkillers if you need them.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

A diagnostic laparoscopy helps to find out the cause of certain gynaecological problems. For some women minor treatments can be performed at the same time.

Acknowledgements

Author: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG and Dr Clare Myers MBBS FRANZCOG

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.