Laparoscopy - A Look Inside the Abdomen Without a Big Scar

Laparoscopy is a surgery that allows your doctor to see and operate on the organs inside your abdomen through very small incisions in the abdominal wall. Many types of surgery can be done with laparoscopy, including diagnosis and treatment of infertility or pelvic pain, fibroid removal or tubal ligation and now even hysterectomies.

Laparoscopy is done in an operating room. You have general anesthesia for this surgery, so you are asleep during the procedure. Carbon dioxide gas is pumped into your abdomen that lifts your abdominal wall off of your pelvic and abdominal organs to provide a working space within the abdomen. A tiny camera is then inserted through a very small incision (less than a half inch long), usually just below your belly button. Another smaller incision is made above the pubic bone to place an instrument that allows me to move internal structures around. If you are having any procedure more complicated than a simple inspection of the pelvis or a tubal ligation, I will sometimes need to make one or more additional incisions to allow other instruments to enter into your abdomen. For pelvic surgeries, it is common for the additional incisions to be made on the side of your abdomen about 3 inches from the midline. These additional punctures are typically 1/4 inch in size.

A wide variety of instruments are useful in laparoscopy. These include instruments that can cut, place clips on internal structures, burn away scar tissue or painful areas in the pelvis (such as endometriosis), or make small biopsies or even remove whole pelvic organs (in pieces so that larger incisions are not needed). At the end of the surgery, the instruments are withdrawn, the gas is removed, and the incisions are sutured closed and you wake up within a few minutes after your laparoscopy is finished.