What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a surgical technique that allows your doctor to diagnose and treat a variety of disease and conditions of the chest, abdomen and pelvis with a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a long, thin camera that transmits pictures of the inside of your body to a video screen viewed by the doctor. It is inserted through a small incision, typically ½ to 1 cm long. Many different diseases and conditions can be treated using special surgical tools inserted through the laparoscope or through other small incisions.
Laparoscopy, also known as laparoscopic surgery, is a type of minimally invasive surgery. This involves making small incisions instead of the large one needed for open surgery. In laparoscopy, surgical tools are threaded through the smaller incisions and around tissues instead of cutting through them. This generally results in a quicker recovery and less pain than open surgery.
Other surgical procedures that may be performed
During laparoscopy, your doctor may also perform a biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a sample of cells or tissue that is tested for disease or cancer. In some cases, an open surgical procedure may be needed if your doctor finds a problem during laparoscopic surgery that cannot be fixed without open surgery. Open surgery is performed by making a longer incision that allows your doctor to directly view and access the surgical area.
Why is laparoscopy performed?
A laparoscopy is a procedure that may be recommended to diagnose and possibly treat a variety of diseases and conditions of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis including:
- Abdominal pain if the underlying cause has not been found through less invasive testing
- Endocrine conditions, such as sickle cell disease, lymphoma, leukemia, and pancreatic pseudocyst, tumors or necrosis
- Female reproductive system conditions, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, birth control, chronic pelvic pain, and tumors or cancer of the reproductive organs
- Hernia, which is when an organ, such as the intestines, bulges or protrudes through a weakness in the muscle
- Intestinal conditions, such as appendicitis, colon cancer, diverticulitis, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, and inflammatory bowel disease (includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- Liver and gallbladder conditions, such as bile duct injury, liver cancer, gallstones, and cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- Lung conditions, such as malignant pleural effusion, recurrent pneumothorax, and lung cancer
- Stomach and esophagus conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), paraesophageal hernia, or tumors
- Tissue biopsy, which involves removing samples of tissues to be examined for disease or malignancy
- Trauma, to evaluate the abdomen or chest when injury is suspected to internal organs
- Urinary tract conditions, such as prostate cancer, kidney cysts, large ureteral stone, female urinary incontinence, vaginal prolapse, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer
- Vascular conditions, such as abdominal aortic aneurysm and blocked arteries
How is laparoscopy performed?
Your laparoscopy will be performed in a hospital or outpatient setting by a team led by a surgeon specialized in such areas as obstetrics and gynecology, colon and rectal surgery, pediatric gastroenterology, vascular surgery, and thoracic surgery. Your surgeon will insert the laparoscope through a small incision (cut). In some cases, more than one incision may be necessary to see the surgical area and insert additional instruments to treat your condition.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery because only one or few small incisions are made instead of a large incision made in a traditional open surgery to treat the same condition. In some cases, minimally invasive techniques may be combined with an open procedure or your doctor may decide after beginning a minimally invasive technique that you require an open surgery to safely and most effectively complete your surgery.
© Copyright 2012 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.