This surgical technique allows for a less invasive approach to a number of procedures.
Laparoscopy is a less invasive way of performing surgery to diagnose or treat a variety of medical conditions.
During laparoscopy, a thin tube with a camera and light on it (called a laparoscope) is placed in the body through very small incisions.
Surgical instruments can be inserted through the laparoscope to cut or repair tissue.
Sometimes called "keyhole surgery," laparoscopy may result in an easier and faster recovery than traditional "open" surgery.
Diagnostic laparoscopy means that the procedure is used to diagnose a medical condition.
It's often performed to:
- Check for tumors
- Perform a biopsy (take a small tissue sample)
- Examine organs such as the appendix, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, intestines, spleen, or stomach
- See if cancer has spread to another part of the body
- Check for an ectopic pregnancy (one that occurs inside a woman's fallopian tubes), endometriosis (in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it), or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Find adhesions (scar tissue), fibroids (noncancerous growths in the uterus), infections, or cysts
Laparoscopy is sometimes used as an alternative to more invasive surgical treatments.
The procedure can be used to:
- Perform a tubal ligation (surgical procedure to sterilize a woman)
- Repair a hernia
- Remove organs such as the uterus, fallopian tubes, bladder, spleen, gallbladder, ovaries, kidney, or appendix
- Remove part of the colon or stomach
- Perform certain knee and shoulder surgeries
- Perform bariatric (weight-reduction) surgery
What Happens in Laparoscopy
During laparoscopy, a laparoscopic surgeon makes a small cut on the outside of the body (usually near the navel for abdominal surgery).
A trocar (thin tube) is inserted into the incision.
For certain procedures, carbon dioxide gas is put in the abdomen. This creates an open space to get a better view of your organs.
Next, the surgeon inserts a laparoscope through the trocar. Other instruments can be placed through the laparoscope to view, cut, or repair tissue in the body.
More cuts may are made if other tools are needed.
The camera on the laparoscope allows the surgeon to view the inside of your body on a video screen in the operating room.
When the procedure is finished, the surgeon will remove the instruments and stich the incisions closed.
Before a laparoscopic procedure, your doctor will probably tell you not to eat or drink anything for eight hours.
Let your healthcare provider know about all medicines you take before having your procedure. You might have to stop taking certain drugs on or before the day of your surgery.
You'll probably be able to go home on the day of your procedure, but in some cases, you'll need to stay in the hospital overnight.
After a laparoscopic procedure, you may feel sore around your incisions. You may also develop shoulder pain. Talk to your doctor about what type of pain medicines to take.
Be sure to have someone else drive you home from the hospital after your surgery.
Most people recover quickly from laparoscopic procedures. Your recovery will depend on your medical condition and the type of procedure you have.
Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following symptoms after the procedure:
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swelling at the surgical site
- Inability to urinate
- Bleeding or drainage from your incisions
- Uncontrollable pain
Risks of Laparoscopy
Potential risks of laparoscopy include:
- Puncturing an organ
- Cardiac complications from general anesthesia
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Diagnostic laparoscopy; MedlinePlus.
- Laparoscopic surgery; MedlinePlus.
- Laparoscopy; Merck Manual.