Laparoscopy is a procedure used to examine the abdominal and pelvic organs so the doctor can make necessary repairs. The fertility specialist will suggest laparoscopic surgery for women who suffer from infertility, as this procedure is useful in assessing for the underlying cause.
What is a laparoscope?
A laparoscope is a thin, fiber-optic tube that has a small light and camera on it. This device is inserted into the abdominal and pelvic cavities via small incisions.
When is a laparoscopy procedure done?
Certain conditions and symptoms are investigated using the laparoscopy procedure. This minor surgery is helpful for women with:
Symptoms of endometriosis
Chronic pelvic pain
History of ectopic pregnancy
Recurrent pregnancy loss
Inability to become pregnant
How do I prepare for a laparoscopy procedure?
Be sure to discuss all medications you are taking with the doctor, as certain blood-thinning agents must be held. Do not eat or drink for eight hours before the scheduled surgery, and take the prophylactic antibiotics as prescribed. You must arrange to have someone drive you home. When you arrive at the fertility center, a nurse will explain the risks and benefits of the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. After you change into a procedure gown, the nurse starts an IV line in your arm.
How is the procedure done?
The laparoscopy is performed at a medical center using general anesthesia (put to sleep). Once the anesthesia takes place, the doctor makes a small cut near the belly button. Carbon dioxide gas is inserted into the abdominal area so the doctor can visualize the internal organs.
If extensive repairs are necessary, the doctor will make more than one incision near the pelvis. After the scope is inserted, the doctor can diagnose the problem and make necessary repairs.
How does the laparoscopy feel?
During the laparoscopic procedure, you will receive anesthesia, so you will not feel any pain. However, once you wake up, expect to have a mild sore throat due to the tube used to help with breathing during the procedure. It is also normal to have some soreness of the abdominal and pelvic areas, especially if a lot of scar tissue is removed. You are usually allowed to go home the same day, but should rest for 2-3 days to recover. You are not allowed to lift or do strenuous activity for a couple of weeks while the incisions heal.
What risks are associated with the laparoscopy procedure?
As with any minimally invasive procedure, there are a few risks associated with the laparoscopy. While rare, complications include infection of the incisions, bladder infection, adhesions and scarring, allergic reaction, nerve damage, and hematomas of the abdominal wall.
Will I need fertility treatment once I have a laparoscopy?
Depending on what is found, pregnancy may be an option. The doctor can often repair or unblock the fallopian tubes, which increases the chances of conception. Once the doctor removes fibroids, growths, polyps, and other obstructive structures, it will increase a woman’s likelihood of conception. Fertility treatments are usually recommended when pregnancy does not occur within 6-12 months of the laparoscopy.