How It Is Done
Laparoscopy is done by a
surgeon or a doctor of women's health (gynecologist).
General anesthesia is generally used, but other types
of anesthesia, such as
spinal anesthesia, may be used. Talk with your doctor
about what choice is best for you.
About an hour before the
surgery, you will empty your bladder. You will get fluids and medicine through
intravenous (IV) in a vein in your arm. You may get a
medicine (sedative) to help you relax.
procedures may be done after you get your anesthesia and are relaxed or
- An airway will be placed in your throat to help
you breathe if you get general anesthesia.
- A thin flexible tube
(urinary catheter) may be put through your
urethra into the bladder.
- Some of your
pubic hair may be shaved.
- Your belly and pelvic area will be washed
with a special soap.
- For women, your doctor may do a
pelvic exam before putting a thin tube (cannula)
through your vagina into the uterus. The cannula lets your doctor move your
uterus and ovaries to get a better look at the belly organs.
During laparoscopy, a small incision is made in the belly.
More than one incision may be made if other tools will be used during the
surgery. A hollow needle is put through the first incision and gas (carbon
dioxide or nitrous oxide) is slowly put through the needle to inflate the
belly. The gas lifts the abdominal wall away from the organs inside so your
doctor can see clearly.
A thin, lighted tube (laparoscope) is then
put through the incision to look at the organs. Other tools can be used to take
tissue samples, fix damage, or drain cysts. A laser may be attached to the
laparoscope to help with the surgery.
After the surgery, all the
tools will be removed and the gas will be released. The incisions will be
closed with stitches and covered with a bandage. The scar will be very small
and will fade over time.
Laparoscopy takes 30 to 90 minutes,
depending on what is done, but can take longer if a condition (such as
endometriosis) is found and treated. After the laparoscopy, you will go to the
recovery room for 2 to 4 hours. You can usually do your normal activities the
next day, but do not do any strenuous activity or exercise for about a
How It Feels
If general anesthesia is used, you will
be asleep and feel nothing. After you wake up, you will feel sleepy for several
hours. You may be tired and have some pain for a few days after a laparoscopy.
You may have a mild sore throat from the tube in your throat to help you
breathe. Use throat lozenges and gargle with warm salt water to help your sore
If you have other types of anesthesia, you may have pain
for a few days when the initial numbness wears off.