If you are currently undergoing fertility treatments, than you are probably familiar with many of the fertility tests offered by your reproductive endocrinologist. Fertility tests are often used to help determine various factors that may be contributing to fertility issues.

One such test is a laparascopy. Laparascopy is a minor surgical procedure that allows your health care provider to explore your pelvic area. While you likely have many questions about the procedure, it is important to know that laparoscopy often proves invaluable in helping to pinpoint the cause of infertility.

What is Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is a procedure used to help a reproductive surgeon examine the pelvic organs. Through a small incision in the abdomen, laparoscopy allows your health care professional to visualize your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries in closeup. This will allow her to examine you for any possible factors that may be contributing to your infertility.

What is Laparoscopy Used For?

Laparoscopy can be used as a diagnostic procedure or it can be used to perform various surgical operations. Laparoscopy is often used for:

  • evaluating infertility
  • treating the fallopian tubes
  • removing scar tissue or adhesions
  • treating endometriosis
  • removing ovarian cysts

Who Should Consider Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy used to be one of the foremost fertility tests offered by reproductive endocrinologists. Because of the costs associated with the procedure though, it is no longer commonly used.

However, laparoscopy can be helpful for some women, particularly those experiencing:

  • unexplained infertility
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • abdominal pain
  • frequent miscarriage

The Laparoscopy Procedure

Laparoscopy can be performed in hospital, as an outpatient procedure, or at a local clinic. It is typically performed under local anesthetic. You will be required to refrain from eating or drinking for at least six hours prior to your laparoscopy.

Depending upon what is found during the laparoscopy, the procedure could last anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. The procedure is as follows: 

  • Your surgeon makes two cuts in your abdomen, each about a centimeter long. The first cut is made just below the navel while the second cut is made in the navel itself.
  • A hollow needle is inserted through the cut near your navel. This pumps carbon dioxide into your abdomen, which helps to keep the wall of your abdomen away from your organs.
  • The laparoscope, which acts as a small camera, is inserted into the second incision. Your surgeon can manipulate this scope to exam various organs and tissues inside your pelvic cavity. Images taken by the camera are relayed to a monitor in the office.
  • If problems are detected, additional incisions may be made to allow for immediate surgery.

Complications of Laparoscopy

Because laparascopy is a minor surgical procedure, there are some complications that could occur. However, these complications are very rare.

Possible complications include:

  • damage to the bladder, bowel, and kidneys
  • damage to the blood vessels
  • internal bleeding
  • infection
  • reaction to anesthesia

After Laparoscopy

After your laparoscopy, you can expect to feel a little sore for about a week. You can return to work after a day or two, assuming no major surgery was performed.

If your health care provider discovered any problems during your laparoscopy, it is likely that he will have corrected them during the procedure. Occasionally, laparoscopy can uncover severe uterine abnormalities that may interfere with pregnancy, despite fertility treatments.

Typically, after laparoscopic surgery, couples can conceive naturally or proceed with specific fertility treatments.

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