A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to view the abdomen using a surgical telescope (laparoscope). The surgeon makes small cuts in the skin of the abdomen, through which she inserts a thin tube that contains the camera. The camera sends images to a video monitor so that the surgeon can see internal structures within the abdomen. Another tube may be inserted into an incision to inflate air into certain areas of the abdomen to provide better visualization.
What are the uses of a laparoscopy?
A laparoscopy has both diagnostic and therapeutic applications. It can be used to examine any organ or structure within the abdominal cavity, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys.
Different conditions that could be treated with laparoscopy:
* Ovarian cysts
* Hernia repair
* Abdominal pain (e.g. appendicitis)
When might a physician order a laparoscopy?
A laparoscopy may be used to:
- Examine the reproductive organs and their surrounding structures, including the fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, and pelvic lymph nodes
- Diagnose abnormalities in the reproductive organs, including endometriosis and ovarian cysts
- Remove noncancerous growths called fibroids from the uterine wall (myomectomy)
- Treat endometriosis by burning off abnormal tissue with an electric current or freezing it with carbon dioxide gas (cryotherapy)
What happens during a laparoscopy?
You will be given general anaesthesia before surgery. General anaesthesia means that you will be asleep during the procedure. You will have an intravenous line inserted into your vein. Medications are given through this line to make you sleepy during surgery and keep you comfortable afterwards.
After you are asleep but still breathing on your own, the doctor may make one or more incisions in your abdomen using special tools called trocars. These trocars look like syringes with blades attached to them that cut through your skin and fascia (the protective covering over muscles).
The doctor inserts one or more tubes called ports through these incisions into your abdominal cavity so she can see inside of it while she operates on it. The doctor will then inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to expand it and allow her to see the better inside of it. The carbon dioxide gas is removed when the procedure is over.
The doctor uses special instruments to remove the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes through the ports and cuts made in your abdomen during surgery. He/She will also make sure no tumour tissue remains in your pelvis after surgery by looking at samples of tissue under a microscope (called pathologic evaluation).
Laparoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis and requires only a day or two of recovery. However, as with any major surgery, there are risks associated with laparoscopy. · Infection: Postoperative infection occurs in about 1 percent of patients who have laparoscopic procedures. Some infections are mild and resolve without treatment, but some can be life-threatening if not treated properly. · Bleeding: There may be bleeding from the incision site after surgery. This is common after any type of abdominal surgery and can be controlled with medication or surgical repair as necessary. Adhesions: bands of scar tissue that form between organs — can develop after any abdominal surgery, including laparoscopy. Adhesions can become painful, especially during pregnancy or other times when organs move around more than usual. The adhesions may need to be removed surgically after they cause problems for long periods (called recurrent adhesions). · Damage to internal organs, such as the bowel or bladder: This may require additional surgery to repair the damage that was done during the original procedure. · Wound breakdown (wound separation) and hernia formation: This is more likely if you're overweight or obese, have had previous abdominal surgery, or have other health conditions that increase your risk of complications from surgery.
Before your surgery, you will need to stop eating and drinking after midnight the night before your surgery. This helps ensure that your stomach is empty so that the surgeon can see clearly during the procedure. In addition, you should take any antibiotics or antacids as prescribed two hours before surgery. If you are taking any blood thinners, please let us know so we can make sure there are no problems with taking them before your procedure. Bring someone with you to drive home after your surgery. Someone must stay with you for at least 24 hours following surgery in case of complications or unexpected signs of heart disease. Arrange for help at home for at least two weeks after your surgery while you recover from the anesthesia and pain medication needed after this procedure.
The length of your recovery depends on the type of surgery you have, but in most cases, you should be able to go back to work within a few days. If you have major surgery, the doctor may want you to rest for two weeks or more before going back to work. If you have minor surgery, such as a laparoscopic gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy), you may be able to return to work within two days. If you're having major abdominal surgery, your doctor will probably advise that you avoid strenuous activity for six weeks or more after your procedure. This includes lifting heavy objects and participating in sports or other vigorous physical activities until your doctor gives permission.
After being discharged, a patient is asked to contact the physician if they experience: · Abdominal pain · Excessive nausea and vomiting · Bleeding at the site of the incision · Pain during defecation or urination
The benefits of laparoscopic surgery are many and varied, but they all revolve around the same theme: less pain, less risk of infection, less scarring, and faster recovery.