Advanced Laparoscopic & Pelvic Surgery

What is laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is a type of surgery. In “open” surgery, an incision is made in the skin. This means making an incision that can be several inches long in the abdomen. Laparoscopy is a way of doing surgery using small incisions (usually no more than 1/2 inch long). Laparoscopic surgery sometimes is called “minimally invasive surgery”.

What are the benefits of laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy has many benefits. There is less pain after laparoscopic surgery than after open abdominal surgery, which involves larger incisions, longer hospital stays, and longer recovery times. Recovery from laparoscopic surgery generally is faster than recovery from open abdominal surgery. The smaller incisions that are used allow you to heal faster and have smaller scars. The risk of infection also is lower than with open surgery.

What are the risks associated with laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy can take longer to perform than open surgery. The longer time under anesthesia may increase the risk of complications. Sometimes complications do not appear right away but occur a few days to a few weeks after surgery. Problems that can occur with laparoscopy include the following:

–     Bleeding or a hernia (a bulge caused by poor healing) at the incision sites

–     Internal bleeding

–     Infection

–     Damage to a blood vessel or other organ, such as the stomach, bowel, bladder, or ureters

For what surgical procedures can laparoscopy be used?

Tubal sterilization can be done using laparoscopy. Laparoscopy also is one of the ways that hysterectomy can be performed. In a laparoscopic hysterectomy, the uterus is detached from inside the body. It can be removed in pieces through small incisions in the abdomen or removed in one piece through the vagina.

What problems can laparoscopy be used to diagnose and treat?

Laparoscopy may be used to look for the cause of chronic pelvic paininfertility, or a pelvic mass. If a problem is found, it often can be treated during the same surgery. Laparoscopy also is used to diagnose and treat the following medical conditions:

    Endometriosis

    Fibroids  Fibroids are growths that form inside the wall of the uterus or outside the uterus. Most fibroids are benign (not cancer), but a very small number are malignant (cancer). Fibroids can cause pain or heavy bleeding. Laparoscopy sometimes can be used to remove them.

–     Ovarian cyst Some women have cysts that develop on the ovaries. The cysts often go away without treatment. But if they do not, your ob-gyn may suggest that they be removed with laparoscopy.

–     Ectopic pregnancy – Laparoscopy may be done to remove an ectopic pregnancy.

–     Pelvic floor disorders – Laparoscopic surgery can be used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

–     Cancer – Some types of cancer can be removed using laparoscopy.

What happens during the procedure?

After giving anesthesia, a small incision is made in or below your navel or in another area of your abdomen. The laparoscope is inserted through this small incision. During the procedure, the abdomen is filled with a gas. Filling the abdomen with gas allows the pelvic reproductive organs to be seen more clearly. The camera attached to the laparoscope shows the pelvic organs on a screen. Other small incisions may be made in the abdomen for surgical instruments. Another instrument, called a uterine manipulator, may be inserted through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. This instrument is used to move the pelvic organs into view.

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