When laparoscopy is used

Laparoscopy is used to diagnose or treat numerous conditions.

During the procedure, small surgical instruments and devices are inserted through small incisions. This helps your surgeon perform whatever surgical procedure needs to be carried out.

Diagnosing conditions

It's often possible to diagnose a condition using non-invasive methods, such as an Ultrasound scan , computerised tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan . Sometimes, however, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to directly study the affected part of the body using a laparoscope.

Laparoscopies are now widely used to diagnose many different conditions and investigate certain symptoms. For example, they may be used for:

  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) a bacterial infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries
  • endometriosis where small pieces of the womb lining (the endometrium) are found outside the womb
  • ectopic pregnancy a pregnancy that develops outside the womb
  • ovarian cyst a fluid-filled sac that develops on a womans ovary
  • fibroids non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb (uterus)
  • female infertility
  • undescended testicles a common childhood condition where a boy is born without one or both testicles in their scrotum
  • appendicitis a painful swelling of the appendix (a small pouch connected to the large intestine)
  • unexplained pelvic or abdominal pain

Laparoscopy can also be used to diagnose certain types of cancers . The laparoscope is used to obtain a sample of suspected cancerous tissue, so it can be sent to a laboratory for testing. This is known as a biopsy .

Cancers that can be diagnosed using laparoscopy include:

  • liver cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • cancer of the bile duct
  • cancer of the gallbladder

Treating conditions

Laparoscopic surgery can beused to treat a number of different conditions, including:

  • removingan inflamed appendix in cases of appendicitis where there's a high risk of the appendix bursting
  • removing the gallbladder often used to treat gallstones
  • removing a section of the intestine often used to treat digestive conditions, such as Crohns disease or diverticulitis , that don't respond to medication
  • repairing hernias such as those found in the groin
  • repairing burst or bleeding stomach ulcers
  • performing weight loss surgery
  • removing some or all of an organ affected by cancer such as the ovaries, prostate, liver, colon, kidney or bladder
  • treating ectopic pregnancy it's usually necessary to remove the embryo to prevent damage to the fallopian tubes
  • removing fibroids
  • removing the womb ( hysterectomy ) sometimes used to treat pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, heavy periods or painful periods
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016