A laparoscopy is one way to get a closer look at the organs in your abdomen and your reproductive organs. This procedure can be used to help diagnose different medical conditions and take biopsies – samples of tissue that are tested. A laparoscopy is generally a safe procedure with few complications.
Laparoscopy is a type of diagnostic surgical procedure that your healthcare provider can use to look inside your body at your abdominal and reproductive organs. This procedure can also be used to collect samples of tissue (biopsies) for testing. A laparoscope — a thin tube similar to a telescope — is passed through a small incision (cut) in your abdomen. Using the laparoscope, your provider can look directly at the outside of your:
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Please follow these guidelines before coming to the hospital for your laparoscopy:
Your healthcare provider might need to do a few tests and gather some medical information about your health before your laparoscopy. This information can include:
Your healthcare provider may also order additional tests, including:
A laparoscopy is done while you’re lying down in a slightly tilted position, with your head lower than your feet. You’ll be given a general anesthetic to relax your muscles and prevent pain during surgery.
Next, a small incision is made near the navel. The laparoscope is inserted through this incision. Your abdomen is inflated to make the organs easier to view. The laparoscope might also be equipped with surgical devices for taking tissue samples or removing scar tissue.
Your provider might also make a second incision at the pubic hairline. This incision provides an additional opening for instruments needed for completing minor surgical procedures.
After surgery, you’ll usually stay in a recovery room for about one hour. Then you will be taken to an outpatient surgery unit for continued observation.
You will be discharged after you receive instructions for your home recovery. In most cases, you can leave the hospital about four hours after laparoscopy. It’s rare that a patient will need to stay in the hospital overnight after this procedure.
You’ll be asked to return to your healthcare provider’s office for follow-up appointments within two to eight weeks of your laparoscopy. Please confirm your follow-up appointment schedule with your provider before leaving the hospital.
One important thing to note before going in for surgery is that you won’t be able to drive for 24 hours after surgery. Make sure you have someone available to pick you and stay with you for those first 24 hours.
Laparoscopy is a very safe procedure. One benefit of this procedure is that it allows your healthcare provider to make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. When done in women, about three out of every 1,000 experience complications. Possible complications can include:
Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you might have before your procedure. Your provider will be able to tell you about the possible complications and explain your risk for these issues.
In most cases, you can go home not long after your laparoscopy. You’ll need to wait until your anesthesia has worn off and your healthcare provider has made sure you aren’t experiencing any side effects from the procedure. In the days following your laparoscopy, you will recover at home.
While you’re recovering at home after your laparoscopy, it’s good to keep a few things in mind. These tips include:
Just like with many surgeries, you might experience some discomfort after a laparoscopy. These discomforts can include:
It’s normal to experience vaginal bleeding up to one month after laparoscopy. Many women do not have their next normal menstrual cycle for four to six weeks after surgery. When your normal cycle returns, you might notice heavier bleeding and more discomfort than usual.
Wait two to three menstrual cycles before determining if laparoscopy has helped to relieve your condition.
You can resume sexual activity one week after surgery. However, pregnancy can still happen during recovery. If you wish to prevent pregnancy, make sure to use a contraceptive.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following:
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/25/2020.
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