Laparoscopy is an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions with the aid of a camera. The laparoscope aids diagnosis or therapeutic interventions with a few small cuts in the abdomen.


Why is laparoscopy performed?

Laparoscopy is often used to identify and diagnose the source of pelvic or abdominal pain. It’s usually performed when noninvasive methods are unable to help with diagnosis.

In many cases, abdominal problems can also be diagnosed with imaging techniques such as:

ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the body
CT scan, which is a series of special X-rays that take cross-sectional images of the body
MRI scan, which uses magnets and radio waves to produce images of the body

Laparoscopy is performed when these tests don’t provide enough information or insight for a diagnosis. The procedure may also be used to take a biopsy, or sample of tissue, from a particular organ in the abdomen.

Your doctor may recommend laparoscopy to examine the following organs:

appendix, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, small intestine and large intestine (colon), spleen, stomach, pelvic or reproductive organs.

By observing these areas with a laparoscope, your doctor can detect:

an abdominal mass or tumor, fluid in the abdominal cavity, liver disease, the effectiveness of certain treatments
the degree to which a particular cancer has progressed. As well, your doctor may be able to perform an intervention to treat your condition immediately after diagnosis.

How do I prepare for laparoscopy?

You should tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Your doctor will tell you how they should be used before and after the procedure.Your doctor may change the dose of any medications that could affect the outcome of laparoscopy.

What are the risks of laparoscopy?

The most common risks associated with laparoscopy are bleeding, infection, and damage to organs in your abdomen. However, these are rare occurrences.