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Laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee") is a type of surgery that uses very small cuts. These cuts are called incisions.
The doctor puts a lighted tube through incisions in your belly. This tube is called a scope. Then the doctor puts special tools through the tube to do the surgery.
The surgery may be done to diagnose a condition, repair or remove an organ, or see if cancer has spread.
For some surgeries, you can usually go home the same day.
The incisions from the surgery usually leave several scars about half an inch long.
Laparoscopy is done to:
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Laparoscopy is done by a surgeon or a doctor of women's health (gynecologist). General anesthesia is most often used. But other types of anesthesia, such as spinal anesthesia, may be used. Talk with your doctor about what choice is best for you.
About an hour before the surgery, you will empty your bladder. You will get fluids and medicine through an intravenous (I.V.) in a vein in your arm. You may get a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.
Several procedures may be done after you get your anesthesia and are relaxed or asleep.
During laparoscopy, a small incision is made in the belly. More than one incision may be made if other tools will be used during the surgery. A hollow needle is put through the first incision. Then air is slowly put through the needle to inflate the belly. The air lifts the abdominal wall away from the organs inside so your doctor can see clearly.
A thin, lighted tube (laparoscope) is then put through the incision to look at the organs. Other tools can be used to take tissue samples, fix damage, or drain cysts. A laser may be attached to the laparoscope to help with the surgery.
After the surgery, all the tools will be removed and the air will be released. The incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with a bandage. The scar will be very small and will fade over time.
After the laparoscopy, you will go to the recovery room. How long you stay will depend on why you had the surgery.
Laparoscopy usually takes about 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what is done. But it can take longer in certain situations.
If general anesthesia is used, you will be asleep and feel nothing. After you wake up, you will feel sleepy for several hours. You may be tired and have some pain for a few days after a laparoscopy. You may have a mild sore throat from the tube in your throat to help you breathe. Use throat lozenges and gargle with warm salt water to help your sore throat. After a laparoscopy, you may have shoulder pain. This is caused by the air your doctor put in your belly to help see your organs better. The pain may last for a day or two.
If you have other types of anesthesia, you may have pain for a few days when the initial numbness wears off.
There is a small chance of problems from laparoscopy, such as:
A laparoscopy may not be done because of a higher chance for problems if you have:
Results of any lab tests on tissue samples may not be available for several days.
The organs are normal in size, shape, and position.
, cysts, or abnormal growths, such as tumors, are not seen.
No signs of disease (such as endometriosis), inflammation (such as appendicitis), or infection are seen.
An organ may be abnormal in size, shape, or position.
Adhesions, cysts, or abnormal growths, such as tumors, may be seen.
Signs of disease, such as endometriosis, or infection may be seen.
An ectopic pregnancy may be present.
Inflammation of an internal organ may be present, such as appendicitis, cholecystitis, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Scar tissue may be seen on an internal organ, such as the fallopian tubes.
Current as of:
November 29, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
Current as of: November 29, 2022
Clinical Review Board:
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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