What is a Laparoscopy?

A laparoscopy is a type of surgery that checks for problems in the abdomen or a woman’s reproductive system. Laparoscopic surgery uses a thin tube called a laparoscope. It is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision. An incision is a small a cut made through the skin during surgery. The tube has a camera attached to it. The camera sends images to a video monitor. This allows a surgeon to view the inside of the body without major trauma to the patient.

Laparoscopy is known as minimally invasive surgery. It allows for shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, less pain, and smaller scars than traditional (open) surgery.

Other names: diagnostic laparoscopy, laparoscopic surgery

What is it used for?

For people with abdominal symptoms, laparoscopic surgery may be used to diagnose:

  • Tumors and other growths
  • Blockages
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Infections

For women, it may be used to diagnose and/or treat:

  • Fibroids, growths that form inside or outside the uterus. Most fibroids are noncancerous.
  • Ovarian cysts, fluid-filled sacs that form inside or on the surface of an ovary.
  • Endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of it.
  • Pelvic prolapse, a condition in which the reproductive organs drop into or out of the vagina.

It may also be used to:

  • Remove an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that grows outside the uterus. A fertilized egg can’t survive an ectopic pregnancy. It can be life threatening for a pregnant woman.
  • Perform a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus. A hysterectomy may be done to treat cancer, abnormal bleeding, or other disorders.
  • Perform a tubal ligation, a procedure used to prevent pregnancy by blocking a woman’s fallopian tubes.
  • Treat incontinence, accidental or involuntary urine leakage.


Why do I need a laparoscopy?

You may need a laparoscopy if you:

  • Have severe and/or chronic pain in your abdomen or pelvis
  • Feel a lump in your abdomen
  • Have abdominal cancer. Laparoscopic surgery can remove some types of cancer.
  • Are a woman with heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • Are a woman who wants a surgical form of birth control
  • Are a woman having trouble getting pregnant. A laparoscopy can be used to check for blockages in the fallopian tubes and other conditions that can affect fertility.

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