At Providence, we believe in using advanced techniques to help improve our practice. It allows us to carefully complete each procedure and in turn, improve the quality of life of our patients quickly and with genuine care. With new approaches to screening and surgery such as laparoscopy, our doctors are able to efficiently diagnose and treat abdominal conditions and get you back to living your life.
Laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure used to examine organs within the abdomen. In a laparoscopy, a thin flexible tube containing a video camera (the laparoscope) is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision. The laparoscope produces images that can be seen and analyzed on a computer screen.
Laparoscopy has many advantages because it allows a clear view of the abdominal organs and structures without the need for major surgery. Laparoscopic techniques are so essential, that they are now used to perform several medical procedures including screenings, biopsies, assessments and surgical operations.
Laparoscopy can be used to determine the stage of cancer of the abdominal organs. It may also be used to evaluate abdominal trauma, including the depth and location of injury, and the extent of intra-abdominal bleeding.
When physical examinations, X-rays, or CT scans yield inconclusive results, a laparoscopy may be performed to assess the abdomen and its organs for:
- Intra-abdominal bleeding
The laparoscopic technique also allows doctors to perform gynecologic laparoscopy, an innovative and minimally invasive procedure used to image the pelvic organs and evaluate pelvic pain. It allows doctors to better treat and diagnose conditions such as ovarian cysts, and fibroids, and to evaluate the fallopian tubes in women experiencing infertility. Other uses include treating endometriosis and removing an ectopic pregnancy in the fallopian tube.
Similar to an endoscopy, laparoscopy uses a viewing tube with a lens or camera and a light on the end. Unlike an endoscopy, the laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to examine, evaluate, or perform surgery on your internal organs.
Depending on your specific laparoscopic screening or surgery, your doctor will inform you of the various steps of the procedure. Most laparoscopic procedures will require general anesthesia. Many are outpatient procedures and require very little time in the hospital.
The benefit of using laparoscopic techniques for your surgery include:
- Smaller incisions, usually about three to five inches in length (traditional incision is 12 inches)
- Smaller scars
- Faster recovery and less postoperative pain
- Reduced blood loss during surgery
- Less damage to the soft tissues, such as muscles and tendons
- Faster rehabilitation and return to normal activities
- Shorter hospital stays
As with any surgical procedure, complications may occur. Possible complications of laparoscopy include, but are not limited to, bleeding from the site of insertion and misplacement of the gas used to help visualize the organs.
In certain situations, your doctor may advise against a laparoscopy. These situations include patients with advanced abdominal wall malignancies, chronic tuberculosis, thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) or other bleeding problems, multiple surgical adhesions, and patients taking blood thinning medication.
There may be other risks to undergoing a laparoscopy depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions that may interfere with a laparoscopy include:
- History of multiple surgeries resulting in adhesions that prevent safe access to the abdomen with a laparoscope
- Blood from an intra-abdominal hemorrhage may prevent visualization with the laparoscope