What is laparoscopy?
This is also known as diagnostic laparoscopy, which is a surgical diagnostic procedure used to examine the organs inside the abdomen. It is a minimally invasive, low-risk procedure that requires only small incisions.
Laparoscopy uses a device called a laparoscope to look at the abdominal organs. The laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera on the front. The device is inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall. As you move, the camera sends images to the video monitor.
It allows your doctor to see inside your body in real-time, without open surgery. Your doctor may also obtain biopsy samples during this procedure.
Why do laparoscopy?
It is often used to identify and diagnose the source of pelvic or abdominal pain. This usually occurs when non-immunological methods do not help the diagnosis.
In many cases, abdominal problems can also be detected with imaging techniques:
- Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the body.
- CT scan, which is a series of specialized X-rays that take cross-sectional images of the body.
- MRI imaging, which uses magnets and radio waves to create images of the body.
Laparoscopy is performed when these tests do not provide adequate information or understanding of the diagnosis. The procedure can also be used to take a biopsy or tissue sample from a specific organ in the abdomen.
- Small intestine and large intestine (colon)
- Pelvic or reproductive organs
By looking at these areas with a laparoscope, your doctor will be able to identify:
- Abdominal mass or tumor
- Fluid in the abdominal cavity
- Liver disease
- Effect of certain treatments
- Specific cancer has progressed
Also, your doctor will be able to intervene to treat your condition as soon as it is diagnosed.
What are the risks of laparoscopy?
The most common accidents associated with laparoscopy are bleeding, infection, and damage to organs in the abdomen. However, these are rare cases.
After your procedure, it is important to look for signs of infection. See your doctor if you experience:
- Fever or cold
- Abdominal pain becomes more severe over time.
- Redness, swelling, and bleeding at the incision site.
- Persistent nausea or vomiting.
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to urinate
- Mild headache
There is a small risk to the organs examined during laparoscopy. Blood and other fluids can leak into your body if an organ is punctured. In this case, you will need other surgeries to repair the damage.
Less common risks:
- General anaesthesia problems.
- Inflammation of the abdominal wall.
- Blood clots, which can travel to the pelvis, legs, or lungs.
In some cases, your surgeon may believe that the risk of diagnostic laparoscopy is too high to confirm the benefits of using the minimally invasive technique. This condition often occurs in people who have undergone abdominal surgeries, increasing the risk of adhesions between structures in the abdomen. Laparoscopy in the presence of adhesions can be time-consuming and increases the risk of organ injury.
How should I prepare for the laparoscopy?
You should inform your doctor of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. Your doctor will tell you how to use them before and after the procedure.
Your doctor may change the dose of any medicine that may affect the result of the laparoscopy.
These medications include:
- Anticoagulants as blood thinners.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including aspirin (buffer) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
- Other medicines that affect blood clotting.
- Dietary or herbal supplements
- Vitamin K.
You should also tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant. This can reduce the risk of harm to your developing baby. Before laparoscopy, your doctor may order blood tests, urinalysis, electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), and chest X-rays. Your doctor may also do some imaging tests, including an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI.
These tests can help your doctor better understand the abnormalities that are examined during laparoscopy. These results also give your doctor a visual guide to the inside of your abdomen. This improves the effectiveness of laparoscopy.
You must refrain from eating and drinking for at least eight hours before the laparoscopy. You should also arrange for a family member or friend to drive you home after this process. Laparoscopy is often performed under general anaesthesia, which makes you drowsy and prevents you from driving for several hours after surgery.
How is this laparoscopy test performed?
- Laparoscopy is generally performed as a patient procedure in the atrium. This means you can go home on the day of your surgery. This can be done in a hospital or inpatient surgery centre.
- You will be given general anaesthesia for this type of surgery. This means that you will fall asleep during this process and will not experience pain. To achieve general anaesthesia, an intravenous (IV) line is inserted into one of your veins. Through an IV, your anesthesiologist can give you special medications and provide hydration with fluids.
- In some cases, local anaesthesia is used instead. Local anaesthesia numbs this area, so even if you are awake during surgery, you will not feel pain.
- During laparoscopy, the surgeon will make an incision below your belly button and then insert a small tube called a cannula. The cannula is used to inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This gas allows your doctor to see your stomach organs more clearly.
- After your abdomen has grown, the surgeon inserts a laparoscope through the incision. The camera attached to the laparoscope displays images on the screen, allowing you to see your organs in real-time.
- The number and size of the incisions will depend on the specific conditions that your surgeon can confirm or rule out. Typically, you will get one to four cuts that are 1 to 2 centimetres long. These cuts allow inserting other devices. For example, your surgeon may need to use another surgical instrument to perform a biopsy. During a biopsy, they evaluate a small sample of tissue from an organ.
- Once the procedure is complete, the instruments are removed. The incisions are then closed with stitches or surgical tape. The bandage can be placed over the incisions.
Recover from a laparoscopy
After the surgery is finished, you will be watched for several hours before you are discharged from the hospital. Your vital signs, breathing, and heart rate will be closely monitored. Hospital staff will monitor anaesthesia or any adverse reaction to the procedure, as well as monitor chronic bleeding.
Your release time will change. It depends on:
- Your general physical condition
- The type of anaesthesia used
- Your body’s reaction to the surgery.
If you have general anaesthesia, a family member or friend should take you home. The effects of general anaesthesia usually take several hours, so it is not safe to drive after the procedure.
In the days after your laparoscopy, you may experience mild pain at the incision site. Any discomfort should improve within a few days. Your doctor can prescribe medicine to reduce pain.
It is also common for shoulder pain to develop after your procedure. The pain from the carbon dioxide gas used to lift the abdomen and create a working space for surgical instruments is usually pain. The gas irritates your diaphragm, which shares nerves with your shoulder. It also causes some swelling. The discomfort disappears in two days.
You can usually resume all your normal activities in a week. Two weeks after the laparoscopy, you must attend the next appointment with your doctor.
Here are some things you can do to ensure a smooth recovery:
- To reduce the risk of blood clots, you should start light activity as soon as possible.
- Get more sleep than usual.
- Use throat lozenges to reduce a sore throat.
- Wear loose clothing.
Results of laparoscopy
If a biopsy is taken, the pathologist will examine it. The pathologist is a doctor who specializes in tissue analysis. A report describing the results will be sent to your doctor.
Common laparoscopic results indicate the absence of abdominal bleeding, hernias, and intestinal obstruction. It also means that all of your organs are healthy.
Abnormal laparoscopy results can indicate certain conditions, including:
- Surgical adhesions or scars
- Appendicitis, inflammation of the intestines.
- Fibroids or abnormal growth in the uterus.
- Cysts or tumors.
- Cholecystitis, inflammation of the gallbladder.
- In endometriosis, the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
- Injury or injury to a specific organ.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, infection of the reproductive organs.
Your doctor will make an appointment with you to see the results. If a serious medical condition is found, your doctor will discuss appropriate treatment options with you and work with you to create a plan to address that condition.