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Laparoscopy - Gynecologic 

A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a laparoscope to view the internal female reproductive organs.  A laparoscope is a type of endoscope.  It consists of a thin tube with a light and viewing instrument.  Images from the laparoscope may be sent to a video monitor.  A laparoscopy may be used to identify abnormalities and diagnose disease.  It may also be used during complex operations.

Historically, exploratory laparoscopy was used to diagnose ovarian disease, cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, and cancer.  Its use has expanded to include removal of tubal pregnancies, harvesting eggs for in vitro fertilization, and removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or ovaries (oophorectomy). 

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A laparoscopy is usually performed at a surgical center or hospital.  It may be an outpatient procedure or involve a short inpatient stay, depending on the case.  General anesthesia is used, and you will need to have someone else drive you home after your surgery.

You will be advised not to eat or drink for typically eight hours before your procedure.  You will wear an examination gown and lie on your back on an examination table for the procedure.  After you are anesthetized, a catheter will be gently inserted through your urethra and into your bladder to collect urine during your surgery.  Your surgical area will be carefully cleaned. 

Your doctor will make a small incision near your belly button.  Carbon dioxide air will be administered through the incision to raise the abdominal wall and create a space for your surgeon to view your organs and work in.  Additional small incisions will be made to insert the laparoscope. 

After your examination or procedure, the incisions are closed with a few stitches and covered with bandages.  The catheter is carefully removed.  You will be taken to a recovery area where you will be observed until you wake up.

Following your procedure, your incision sites may throb or feel slightly painful.  Your doctor will recommend or prescribe a pain reliever for you.  You may feel an increase urge to urinate because the carbon dioxide may temporarily put pressure on your bladder.  You may experience temporary irritation when you urinate because of the catheter.  Your doctor will provide you with a written list of precautions, wound care directions, and temporary restrictions.

Your doctor may let you know the results of your examination, but may wait to thoroughly review the results of your laparoscopy during a follow-up appointment or phone call, when you are more alert.  Your incision sites will be examined at your follow-up appointment.  Your stitches will be removed.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit