Since few resources exist that discuss laparoscopy from a patient’s perspective, the following information was compiled to give women a better idea of what is involved before and after laparoscopy.
Overview of the procedure
Laparoscopy is usually done under general anaesthesia. Generally, a small incision is made near the belly button and the abdomen is filled with CO2 gas. This lifts the abdomen away from the internal organs, giving the surgeon a better view. The lighted laparoscope is then inserted into the abdomen. Two other small incisions may be made in the abdomen so additional surgical instruments, such as a probe to move organs, can be used during the surgery. Many surgeons also attach a video camera to the laparoscope to enlarge the view, allowing the entire surgical team to see the procedure.
During the laparoscopy, the doctor examines the pelvic organs, looking for obvious and atypical endometriosis lesions as well as endometriomas (endometriosis-filled cysts), adhesions, and scarring. Depending on your history and symptoms, the doctor may also look for fibroid tumours or other abnormalities. Other procedures, such as a hysteroscopy (an examination of the inside of the uterus) may also be performed.
Diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis may take place during the same procedure. Your doctor may also remove the lesions to send to a lab for biopsy. This will document the presence or absence of endometriosis.
Length of stay
Laparoscopy is usually done on an outpatient basis, although an overnight stay may be required if the surgery is complex or lengthy. If a bowel resection or partial bowel resection is performed, your hospital stay may be extended by several days. It’s a good idea to be mentally prepared to spend at least one night.