A laparoscopy is a less invasive alternative to open surgery. It allows for a quicker recovery time, and can aid in determining whether you have conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, or other causes of pelvic problems.
A gynaecological laparoscopy is performed under general anaesthetic, and is usually performed as a day case procedure, meaning there is no need for an overnight stay in hospital.
Once you are asleep, your surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen, which is where the instruments used for the surgery are inserted. An instrument called a laparoscope which has a camera and a light on the end of it will send images back to a screen for your surgeon to see.
Carbon dioxide is also pumped into your abdomen to inflate it and allow your surgeon to clearly examine the area. If treatment is required, further incisions will be made in your abdomen and further instruments inserted to perform the treatment.
Once the procedure is complete, the instruments will be removed and the carbon dioxide will be released. Your incisions will be closed usually with dissolvable stitches.
You will be asked to fast before your surgery, which means no food or drink typically 4-8 hours before your operation.
It is advisable to wear loose clothing to wear after your surgery as you may feel a little bloated from the carbon dioxide.
You must arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you for 24 hours after your operation, as you will be unable to drive.
After your surgery, you will usually be allowed to return home a couple of hours after.
Your doctor or nurse will prescribe you with any painkillers for you to manage your pain at home. You will also be asked to wear compression stockings for a while after your surgery. This is usually for two weeks, or up until you are moving around more often.
You may experience ‘gas pains’ in your abdomen or in your shoulders caused by the carbon dioxide. Your body will absorb this naturally over time. You may also have some bruising, but this will fade within a couple of weeks.
As with all procedures, there are some side effects and potential risks. Your doctor will discuss any risks with you beforehand.