Laparoscopy is a type of surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to access the inside of the abdomen (tummy) and pelvis without having to make large incisions in the skin.

This procedure is also known as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery.

Large incisions can be avoided during laparoscopy because the surgeon uses an instrument called a laparoscope.

This is a small tube that has a light source and a camera, which relays images of the inside of the abdomen or pelvis to a television monitor.

The advantages of this technique over traditional open surgery include:

  • a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time
  • less pain and bleeding after the operation
  • reduced scarring

When laparoscopy is used

Laparoscopy can be used to help diagnose a wide range of conditions that develop inside the abdomen or pelvis. It can also be used to carry out surgical procedures, such as removing a damaged or diseased organ, or removing a tissue sample for further testing ( Biopsy ).

Laparoscopy is most commonly used in:

  • gynaecology the study and treatment of conditions affecting the female reproductive system
  • gastroenterology the study and treatment of conditions affecting the digestive system
  • urology the study and treatment of conditions affecting the urinary system

These allow the surgeon to insert the laparoscope, small surgical tools, and a tube used to pump gas into the abdomen. This makes it easier for the surgeon tolook aroundand operate.

After the procedure, the gas is let out of your abdomen, the incisions are closed using stitches and a dressing is applied.

You can often go home on the same dayof yourlaparoscopy, although you may need to stay in hospital overnight.

They include:

  • infection
  • minor bleeding and bruising around the incision
  • feeling sick and vomiting

Serious complications

Seriouscomplications after laparoscopy are estimated to occur in one out of every 1,000 cases. They include:

  • damage to an organ, such as your bowel or bladder, which could result in the loss of organ function
  • damage to a major artery
  • complications arising from the use of carbon dioxide during the procedure, such as the gas bubbles entering your veins or arteries
  • a serious allergic reaction to the general anaesthetic
  • a blood clot developing ina vein, usually in one ofthe legs ( deep vein thrombosis or DVT), which can break off and block the blood flow in one of the blood vesselsin the lungs ( pulmonary embolism )

Further surgery is oftenrequired to treat many of these more serious complications.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016