Laparoscopic Surgery

Abdominal surgery with

  • Less risk
  • Less pain
  • A smaller scar

What is a laparoscopy?

During laparoscopy, the doctor can observe and perform a variety of procedures on a woman’s reproductive organs (the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes). Since the surgeon uses instruments that fit into a narrow tube called a cannula, only a small incision is necessary.

Why is laparoscopy sometimes called “band-aid” surgery?

Laparoscopy is often called “band-aid” or “belly-button” surgery because the doctor makes a small incision very close to the navel. After surgery, this relatively small opening can be closed with only one or two stitches that can be covered with a small bandage.

How can surgery be done through such a small opening?

After using a harmless gas to slightly inflate the abdominal cavity, the surgeon visualizes the inside the abdomen by introducing a lighted instrument called a laparoscope through the narrow cannula. Other specially-engineered instruments the surgeon needs can also be introduced via this cannula.

What kinds of surgery can the doctor perform during a laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is a valuable tool for the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cysts, scar tissue (adhesions), endometriosis, and ectopic pregnancy. It may be used as part of a fertility evaluation to detect a blocked tube or during a sterilization procedure like tubal ligation.

The physicians at OB/GYN Health Associates can also perform laparoscopic hysterectomies.

Is laparoscopy painful? When can I go home?

Most women are able to go home after several hours and generally able to resume a normal schedule within three to five days. Some women may experience discomfort in the form of cramping and shoulder/back pain related to the gas used to inflate the abdomen, but this normally lasts only a few days.

What are the risks?

Procedures involving anesthesia carry some degree of risk, and any invasive procedure can result in injury or infection. However, risk is lower with fewer complications when a laparoscopy is performed by an experienced gynecologist with special skills and training.

Two OB/GYN Health Associates physicians, Drs. Edward Ryan and Luis Ugarte, are certified in advanced operative laparoscopy.

Is laparoscopy the same thing as laparotomy?

Because the names are so similar, it is easy to confuse these two types of surgery.

Unlike laparoscopy, laparotomy involves a four to five inch incision made lower on the abdomen, nearer to the pubic region. Laparotomy is major surgery that is more invasive and requires a longer hospital stay and recovery time.

Recommended reference:

The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health, by Karen J. Carlson, M.D., Stephanie A. Eisenstat, M.D., and Terra Ziporyn, Ph.D. Harvard University Press (2004).