What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a procedure to look inside your abdomen by using a laparoscope. A laparoscope is like a thin telescope with a light source. It is used to light up and magnify the structures inside the abdomen. A laparoscope is passed into the abdomen through a small incision (cut) in the skin. A camera is attached to the end of the telescope and the image is viewed on a video monitor. Surgery is carried out while looking at this monitor.
A typical setup:
A laparoscopy may be done to find the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, pelvic pain, or swelling of the abdomen or pelvic region. Or, it may be done if a previous test such as an x-ray or scan has identified a problem within the abdomen or pelvis. A laparoscopy enables a doctor to see clearly inside your abdomen. Some common conditions which can be seen by laparoscopy include:
What is laparoscopic surgery?
In addition to simply looking inside, a doctor can use fine instruments which are also passed into the abdomen through another small incision in the skin These instruments are used to cut, trim, biopsy, grab, etc, inside the abdomen. This laparoscopic surgery is sometimes called 'key-hole surgery' or 'minimal invasive surgery'. Laparoscopic surgery can be used for various procedures.
Some commonly performed operations include:
In general, compared to traditional surgery, with laparoscopic surgery there is usually:
How is it done?
Laparoscopy and laparoscopic surgery are usually done whilst you are asleep under general anaesthesia. The skin over the abdomen is cleaned. The surgeon or gynaecologist then makes a small incision (cut) about 1-2cm long near to the navel (belly button). Some gas is injected through the cut to slightly 'blow out' the abdominal wall. This makes it easier to see the internal organs with the laparoscope which is gently pushed through the incision into the abdominal cavity. The surgeon or gynaecologist then looks down the laparoscope or looks at pictures on a TV monitor connected to the laparoscope.
If you have a surgical procedure, one or more separate small incisions are made in the abdominal skin. These allow thin instruments to be pushed into the abdominal cavity. The surgeon or gynaecologist can see the ends of these instruments with the laparoscope and so can perform the required procedure.
When the surgeon or gynaecologist is finished, the laparoscope and other instruments are removed. The incisions are stitched and dressings are applied.
What are the special equipments required?
Besides the telescopes, camera, monitor etc we need a number of equipments such as:
After a laparoscopy?
You may feel a little sore around the incisions. You may have some pain in your shoulder tip. This is caused by the gas which had been pumped inside irritating the diaphragm which has the same nerve supply as the shoulder tip. This pain soon passes off. The length of time to recover can vary, depending on why the procedure was done and what operations were performed.
Are there any possible complications from a laparoscopy?
There may be some minor bleeding or bruising around the skin incisions. Otherwise, in most cases a laparoscopy to just 'look inside' goes without any problem. Possible problems which may occur include the following.