What is laparoscopy used for?

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions.

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery that helps diagnose and treat many health conditions. A laparoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a light and small video camera on the end. The tube is put into a small surgical cut made through the abdominal wall near the belly button. A second or third incision may also be made in other parts of the belly to put in other operating instruments. By making the small incision, the surgeon can see images of the required organ on the video monitor and treat the organs without being invasive to the human body. There are a few reasons why laparoscopy may be used

  • Having problems in the abdomen (belly) and pelvis: Laparoscopy helps to look for the problems that may be causing discomfort in the belly and pelvis.
  • Suspicious area that might be cancer: Laparoscopy can be used to remove or take biopsy samples of lymph nodes in the pelvis or abdomen. It is commonly used for people with gynecologic cancers (cervical cancerovarian cancer and endometrial cancer).
  • To treat a small cancer: Laparoscopy can be used to treat small cancers in areas such as the  ovaries, uterus , cervix , colon and kidney.

What are the medical conditions that laparoscopy helps diagnose?

Laparoscopies are widely used to diagnose many different conditions

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): This is a bacterial infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Endometriosis: This is the presence of endometrial tissue, the womb lining, outside the womb.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: This is a pregnancy that develops outside the womb.
  • Ovarian cyst: This is a fluid-filled sac that develops on a woman's ovary.
  • Fibroids: These are non-cancerous tumors that grow in or around the uterus (womb).
  • Undescended testicles: This is a common childhood condition where a boy is born without one or both testicles in their scrotum.
  • Appendicitis: This is a painful swelling of the appendix (a small pouch-like structure connected to the large intestine).

Cancers that can be diagnosed using laparoscopy include

What are the medical conditions that can be treated using laparoscopy?

Laparoscopic surgery may be used to treat different conditions including

  • Removing a swollen appendix 
  • Removing the gallbladder to treat gallstones
  • Removing a section of the intestine to treat digestive conditions, such as Crohn's disease or diverticulitis, that do  not respond to medications
  • Repairing hernias such as those found in the groin
  • Repairing burst or bleeding stomach ulcers
  • Performing weight loss surgery
  • Removing some or all of an organ affected by cancer such as the ovaries, prostate, liver, colon, kidney or bladder
  • Treating ectopic pregnancy by removing the embryo to prevent damage to the fallopian tubes
  • Removing abnormal growths such as fibroids
  • Removing the womb (hysterectomy) to treat pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, heavy periods or painful periods

What are the benefits and risks of laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy has many benefits which include 

  • Pain after laparoscopic surgery is less.
  • Recovery from laparoscopic surgery is generally faster.
  • Smaller incisions allow the patient’s wounds to heal faster and have smaller scars
  • The risk of infection and complications is lower.

Risks include

  • Laparoscopy may sometimes take longer to perform than open surgery. 
  • Patients may be under anesthesia for a longer time, which may increase the risk of complications. 
  • Sometimes, complications do not appear right away but occur a few days to a few weeks after surgery. 
  • Bleeding or a hernia (a bulge caused by poor healing) at the incision sites
  • Internal bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to a blood vessel or other organ, such as the stomach, bowel, bladder or uterus

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Medically Reviewed on 10/22/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference