Women's Services Encyclopedia
This useful procedure involves the insertion of a thin, flexible, fiber-optic scope into a small incision made in the abdomen (next to the belly
button). Through this tube, the physician may observe the outer surfaces of the internal organs, paying attention to signs of inflammation or the
presence of a tumor. The laparoscope may be used to view the organs in the abdomen (intestines, liver, gallbladder and spleen) or the pelvis (uterus,
fallopian tubes and ovaries). Laparoscopy presents a less stressful, less risky, and less costly alternative to laparotomy (open exploratory surgery).
This procedure is useful in patients with the following:
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- History of infertility
- Need for tubal ligation (this surgery can be performed through the laparoscope)
- Known cancer (to evaluate ongoing treatment)
- History of heavy or abnormal menstrual cycles (endometriosis can be diagnosed with this procedure)
- Surgical removal of the gallbladder (can be performed through the laparoscope)
- Laparoscopy can only be performed by qualified General Surgeons and Gynacologists.
- It is generally a safe procedure with risk from general anesthesia at less than 1 in 3,000.
- The risk of internal organ puncture is less than 3 in 1,000.
- Serious bleeding occurs in less than 6 in 1,000.
- In most cases, benefits from this test will greatly outweigh any risks.
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