Radiological (X-ray) and ultrasound examinations are able todiagnose many conditions within the abdomen and pelvis but do have their limitations. Under certain circumstances a clearer picture of the appearance of the abdomen and pelvis is required.
A laparoscopy enables the surgeon or gynecologist to directly view the organs of the abdomen and pelvis.
How is a laparoscopy performed?
The laparoscope is a sterile surgical instrument that has special optics that allow small amounts of light to be transmitted effectively. Carbon dioxide gas is pumped through a channel in the laparoscope into the abdomen. This creates a space within which the surgeon can look or operate.
A laparoscopy is performed under a general anaesthetic. A small cut measuring 1 to 2cm is made in or just below the belly-button. Through this cut, the laparoscope is gently introduced into the abdomen.
Additional instruments are often required. These are usually introduced via even smaller cuts in the skin above or to the side of the pubic hair.
What can a laparoscopy be used for?
Most laparoscopies are performed as part of the investigation of abdominal or pelvic pain. The most common illnesses diagnosed through laparoscopy are endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts and appendicitis.
In many cases it is possible to perform operations through the laparoscope itself. Most sterilisations today are performed through a laparoscope.
Cysts on the ovaries can be punctured and opened, while adhesions caused by ovarian diseases or other diseases of the pelvic organs can also be loosened.
Most ectopic pregnancies can be treated laparoscopically as can many cases of endometriosis.
Even complicated gynecological cancers can now be treated through the laparoscope.
Laparoscopic surgery is becoming increasingly popular with patients because the scars are smaller and their period of recovery is shorter. Laparoscopic surgery requires special training of the surgeon or gynaecologist and the operating room nursing staff. The equipment is often expensive and not available in all hospitals.
SouthBay OB/GYN is pleased to be able to offer our patients a complete array of laparoscopic procedures when necessary. Feel free to ask our doctors about minimally invasive surgeries.