A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. The instrument is inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall. As it moves along, the camera sends images to a video monitor. Laparoscopy allows your doctor to see inside your body in real time, without open surgery. Your doctor also can obtain biopsy samples during this procedure.
Laparoscopy is often used to identify and diagnose the source of abdominal or pelvic pain. It’s usually performed when other, noninvasive methods are unable to help with diagnosis. In many cases, abdominal problems can also be diagnosed with imaging techniques such as:
- Ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the body.
- CT scan, which is a series of special X-rays that take cross-sectional images of the body.
- MRI, which uses magnets and radio waves to produce images of the body
Laparoscopy is performed when these tests don’t provide enough information or insight for a diagnosis. The procedure may also be used to take a biopsy, or sample of tissue, from a particular organ in the abdomen.
Your doctor may recommend laparoscopy to examine the following organs:
By observing these areas with a laparoscope, your doctor can detect:
- Small and large bowel
- Pelvic or reproductive organs
How Is Laparoscopy Performed?
- An abdominal mass or tumor
- Fluid in the abdominal cavity
- Liver disease
- The effectiveness of certain treatments
- The degree to which a particular cancer has progressed
Laparoscopy is usually done as an outpatient procedure. This means that you’ll be able to go home the same day as your surgery. It may be performed in a hospital or an outpatient surgical center. You’ll likely be given general anesthesia for this type of surgery. This means that you will sleep through the procedure and will not feel any pain. In some cases, local anesthesia is used instead. A local anesthetic numbs the area, so even though you will be awake during the surgery, you will not feel any pain.
During laparoscopy, an incision will be made below your belly button. A small tube called a cannula will then be inserted. The cannula is used to inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This gas allows your doctor to see your abdominal organs more clearly. Once the abdomen is inflated, the laparoscope will be inserted through the incision. The camera attached to the laparoscope will display the images on a screen, allowing your doctor to see your organs in real time.Up to a total of four cuts will be made. These incisions allow other instruments to be inserted. For example, your doctor may need to use another surgical tool to perform a biopsy. During a biopsy, your doctor will take a small sample of tissue from an organ to be evaluated.
After the procedure is done, the instruments will be removed. Your incisions will be closed with stitches or surgical tape. Bandages may be placed over the incisions.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Laparoscopy?
When the surgery is over, you’ll be observed for several hours before you’re released from the hospital. Your vital signs, such your breathing and heart rate, will be monitored closely. Hospital staff will also check for any adverse reactions to the anesthesia or the procedure, as well as monitor for prolonged bleeding.
The timing of your release will vary. It depends on:
- -Your overall physical condition
- -The type of anesthesia used
- -Your body’s reaction to the surgery