What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is also known as keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive surgery done to check problems in the abdomen or a woman’s reproductive system. With the help of Laparoscopic surgery, the doctor can diagnose different medical conditions and take a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy).
In Laparoscopic surgery, a thin tube known as a Laparoscope is inserted in the abdomen via a small incision made through the skin. A camera is attached to this tube, which allows the surgeon to look inside the patient’s body without any major process. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to look at the outside of the patient’s- uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, and liver and if the surgeon finds any abnormalities in the organs, they operate on them by attaching a surgical instrument to the laparoscope.
Usually, Laparoscopy is a safe procedure with some minor complications.
Why is Laparoscopy for infertility done?
Your doctor might suggest you get laparoscopic surgery done to diagnose the cause of infertility. Generally, Laparoscopy is performed only after all other infertility assessments are done, like-ultrasound, checking for ovulation, ovarian reserve, and male- semen analysis. It is also done if there are symptoms that require laparoscopic testing.
Your doctor might recommend you a Laparoscopy to check for factors that could be the reason behind infertility, like-
- Blocked fallopian tubes- If the fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, it makes it difficult for an egg to get fertilized with sperm or prevent an embryo from traveling to the uterus.
- Problems with Ovulation- Ovulation problems are often caused by PCOS. Such problems make it difficult for conception as the eggs are available in a smaller quantity.
- Uterine Fibroids- Fibroids are tumors that grow in or on the wall of the uterus. Women who are in their 30s and 40s usually face this problem. Fibroids affect the functioning of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.
- Ectopic pregnancy- Ectopic pregnancy is a situation, in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus (most probably in the fallopian tube). When this happens, it is not possible to move further with the pregnancy.
- Endometriosis- Endometriosis is a situation, in which the tissue lining present inside the uterus grows outside of it. Endometriosis is painful and also affects the functions of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. It could block the fallopian tubes, or the ovaries, thus preventing them from releasing eggs.
- Pelvic Factor Infertility- Pelvic factory infertility is a problem, in which a woman is unable to conceive due to a problem in her pelvis. They are caused due to a history of- scar tissue from severe pelvic infection, injuries or surgeries, or a ruptured appendix.
- In rare cases, Ovarian Cysts can also cause infertility, and via Laparoscopy, these cysts can be removed.
What is the procedure of Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy can be either diagnostic or operational. Diagnostic Laparoscopy takes less time and is done to only diagnose the cause of infertility. Operational Laparoscopy takes longer, in this the problem found is immediately treated.
- Before beginning with Laparoscopy, you will be given general anesthesia. Once anesthesia comes in effect, the doctor will fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas, which will lift the abdominal wall and provide room for proper inspection of reproductive organs during the diagnosis and operation (if necessary).
- Once carbon dioxide has been placed, a laparoscope will be inserted into your abdomen through the belly button. A Laparoscope is a thin tube with a camera attached to it. The inside of the abdomen is displayed on a monitor, which allows the doctor to look inside the abdomen without any major procedure.
- In case any abnormalities are found, additional instruments will be inserted into your abdomen with the help of 2-3 small incisions usually made around the pubic area. And along with the laparoscope, the treatment will be performed.
- In case of infertility, the doctor will closely evaluate the reproductive organs and also look for fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and pelvic adhesions, which might be stopping the women from conceiving. The doctor might take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for further evaluation.
- Once the operation is done, the doctor will use stitches to close the incisions, leaving behind, none or minimal scarring.
What are the risks involved in Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery, but like any other surgery, it also has some potential risks and complications. They are-
- Bladder infection
- Formation of adhesions
- Hematomas (swelling due to blood outside a vessel)
- Swelling, pain, or itching at the incision site
- Blood clotting
- Nerve damage
- Urine retention
- Damage to organs present in the abdomen
- Allergic reaction
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