What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique of performing a surgery through smaller incisions. A thin fibre-optic instrument called laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen through a small cut. It allows visualisation of pelvic organs and also treatment of problems if detected.
Why is it required?
Laparoscopy in gynaecology is used to check for any abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other organs which are not evident by other diagnostic procedures such as X-rays and other scans. Laparoscopy is used to diagnose and treat the conditions of pelvic pain, infertility, fibroids, cysts, tumours, endometriosis, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other gynaecological problems.
How is laparoscopic surgery done?
The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia in the operating theatre. Your surgeon will make a small incision in your abdomen below the navel through which the laparoscope is inserted. The abdomen is filled with a gas, usually carbon dioxide, which gives a clear view of the pelvic organs. Other incisions will be made to insert surgical instruments if any abnormalities are detected that require treatment. Once the treatment is complete, the incisions are closed. In most of the gynaecological procedures the procedure may take about thirty minutes.
What precautions should be taken before the procedure?
You can continue taking your regular medications, unless your doctor advises. You may need to have a bowel preparation which will empty your bowel before the surgery. For this, you should be on a liquid diet (soups, jellies, juices or similar drinks) for 24 hours before the surgery. Avoid smoking and if you develop signs of illness prior to your surgery, please contact our office immediately.
What can be expected during recovery period?
You will be in the recovery room when you wake up from anaesthesia. You may feel sleepy for the next few hours. You may have pain in the shoulder or back which is because of the gas used in the procedure. It resolves within a day or two. You may have some discomfort or feel tired for a few days after the procedure. Contact your doctor if pain and nausea does not go away or is becoming worse. You should avoid heavy activities or exercise until you recover completely.
After discharge from hospital, you should: drink and eat normally, remain mobile, shower normally, use sanitary pads (not tampons), if required, you can remove the dressings after 24hrs and rinse any wounds gently with soap and water.
What are the possible risks and complications of this procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, laparoscopic surgery is also associated with certain risks and complications and they include but not limited to:
- During surgery– Injuries to internal or surrounding organs (bladder, ureters, bowel or blood vessels) requiring further surgery, blood transfusion or longer admission; if the procedure could not be able to be completed laparoscopically you may require an "open" operation(laparotomy)
- After surgery– Infections ( bladder, wound (internal and external), abdomen or lungs); blood clots in the leg, pelvis and/or the lungs; unpredictable wound healing; postoperative pain occasionally necessitating overnight admission, nausea and vomiting
- The anaesthetic complications
Any specific risks and complications will be discussed prior to the procedure.
What if I come across any problem during recovery period?
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the below mentioned conditions:
- Offensive vaginal discharge or heavy bleeding
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Inability to empty your bladder or bowels
- Severe pain