Laparoscopy is a form of surgery that allows doctors to examine and possibly treat internal organs by viewing images sent from a small, thin tube (a laparoscope) inserted through small cuts into your body. The tube has a tiny light and camera on one end.
Gynaecological laparoscopy is a less invasive way than traditional surgery for doctors to see your reproductive organs. It provides your consultant gynaecologist with images of your womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries by looking directly down the laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a camera on the end) or viewing them on a screen.
Laparoscopy surgery is also known as keyhole surgery.
Your doctors may use it to help diagnose symptoms of gynaecological conditions or to perform minor gynaecological surgery. It can be used to remove ovarian cysts, take an ovarian biopsy and treat endometriosis.
Investigations and procedures carried out with a laparoscope typically take 30 to 60 minutes and are usually performed while you are asleep after a general anaesthetic. You’ll usually be able to go home on the same day.
If you decide to have your treatment with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
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Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
If you already have a diagnosis, we will discuss with you the laparoscopic treatment for your gynaecological condition and any other options you could consider.
After this discussion, we will confirm if you can be booked straight in for the laparoscopy.
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For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having any medical procedure can cause anxiety. Our experienced and dedicated medical staff will be there to reassure you.
You will almost certainly have a general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep during the operation. Your surgeon will make one or two small cuts on the skin near your belly button. Using a hollow needle, carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the abdomen. This creates more room for your surgeon to work in and makes it easier to see the internal organs.
He or she will insert the laparoscope through the cut and examine your organs by looking directly through the instrument or at images on a nearby screen. Your consultant is often able to diagnose or shape a diagnosis by looking at those pictures. Another instrument may be inserted through a second cut. This instrument is used to move internal structures so that your surgeon can see around them.
If your laparoscopy involves an operation, your expert surgeon will make more small cuts to insert the special surgical instruments.
When the procedure is over and all instruments are removed, the cuts will be closed with two to three dissolvable stitches.
You will almost certainly be able to go home a few hours after the procedure but you’ll need someone to collect you as you’ll be feeling drowsy.
You’ll have some pain in the abdomen and also ‘referred pain’ in the shoulders. This should disappear within 48 hours. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by your hospital.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
You may also notice bruising on the abdomen but this should fade without treatment.
Before you go home you will be given a telephone number for the hospital, in case you need to ask for any further advice. You may also be given a date for a follow-up appointment with your consultant to check on your progress and to discuss any further treatment that may be required.
Follow your surgeon’s advice about resuming your usual activities. You will probably be able to go back to work within a few days, but this depends on the exact treatment you have had. A full recovery can take up to seven days.
Sexual intercourse may be resumed as soon as you feel ready, or as advised by your surgeon. You should continue to use your usual form of contraception unless otherwise advised.
Following a gynaecological laparoscopy, it is normal to have a small amount of vaginal bleeding. Some laparoscopies involve the injection of a dye, which can cause a blue vaginal discharge for a day or two.
Even once you’ve left hospital, we’re still here for you.
Most women experience no problems after a laparoscopy, however as with all medical treatments complications can occur. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you experience any of these symptoms please call us straight away.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
Spire Harpenden Hospital is only able to provide Covid-19 tests to patients undergoing surgery at our hospital. Covid-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service.