Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Font Size

Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organs camera.gif or the female pelvic organs camera.gif. Laparoscopy is used to find problems such as cysts, adhesions, fibroids camera.gif, and infection. Tissue samples can be taken for biopsy through the tube (laparoscope).

In many cases laparoscopy can be done instead of laparotomy surgery that uses a larger incision in the belly. Laparoscopy can be less stressful and may have less problems and lower costs than laparotomy for minor surgeries. It can often be done without needing to stay overnight in the hospital.

Why It Is Done

Laparoscopy is done to:

  • Check for and possibly take out abnormal growths (such as tumors) in the belly or pelvis.
  • Check for and treat conditions such as endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Find conditions that can make it hard for a woman to become pregnant. These conditions include cysts, adhesions, fibroids, and infection. Laparoscopy may be done after initial infertility tests do not show the cause for the infertility.
  • Do a biopsy.
  • See whether cancer in another area of the body has spread to the belly.
  • Check for damage to internal organs, such as the spleen, after an injury or accident.
  • Do a tubal ligation.
  • Fix a hiatal hernia camera.gif or an inguinal hernia camera.gif.
  • Take out organs, such as the uterus, spleen camera.gif, gallbladder camera.gif (laparoscopic cholecystectomy), ovaries, or appendix (appendectomy). Partial removal (resection) of the colon also can be done.
  • Find the cause of sudden or ongoing pelvic pain.

How To Prepare

Tell your doctor if you:

  • Have allergies to any medicines, including anesthesia.
  • Have any bleeding problems or are taking any blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Are or might be pregnant.

Before laparoscopy:

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, please do so using only a sip of water.
  • Leave your jewelry at home. Any jewelry you wear will need to be taken off before the laparoscopy.
  • Remove your glasses, contacts, and dentures or a removable bridge before the laparoscopy. These will be given back to you as soon as you wake up after the surgery.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the laparoscopy.

You may be asked to use an enema or suppository several hours before or the day before the surgery to empty your colon.

The hospital or surgery center may send you instructions on how to get ready for your laparoscopy or a nurse may call you with instructions before your surgery.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the surgery, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
 
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
 
top foods for probiotics
Slideshow
couple eating at cafe
Article
 
sick child
Slideshow
Woman blowing bubble gum
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Slideshow
Woman with stomach pain
Slideshow
 
diet for diverticulitis
Video
what causes diarrhea
Video