Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that has two separate functions, diagnosis and treat disease. A diagnostic laparoscopy is used to determine the severity of a number of conditions within the body and to figure out why a person is experiencing symptoms. It is performed by inserting a thin, lighted tube into a small incision made into the abdomen under anesthesia.
In fertility treatment, a laparoscopy is used to examine the pelvic region. In many medical cases now, it is possible to use laparoscopy instead of a “bikini cut” surgery which involves a much larger incision. The technique is often used to evaluate for cysts, fibroids, as well at to check for scar tissue, endometriosis or other abnormalities. In those cases where it is required, it is possible to collect tissue samples through the tube being used for a laparoscopic procedure. Additionally, often at the time of a laparoscopy the fallopian tubes are evaluated with “blue dye”. The dye is injected thru the uterus up to the fallopian tubes and hopefully if the tubes are open the dye will end up coming out the end of the tubes into the abdomen.
The infertility conditions most often treated through a laparoscopic surgery is endometriosis or pelvic adhesions. Adhesions (scar tissue) can form around the ovaries, block access to the fallopian tubes, or can damage the uterus.
A laparoscopic treatment will carefully remove these tissue growths (endometriosis) or adhesions in order to provide the pelvic organs a better chance of being able to implant an embryo and achieve pregnancy. While not without risk, the laparoscopy is a minimally invasive option that may provide exceptional pain relief, in addition to improving fertility.
The benefits of laparoscopic surgery include less trauma and incision scarring when compared to open abdominal surgery, as tiny incisions are used for the “portals”. In order to separate the internal structures better, gas is introduced into the abdomen. It may take a few days for residual discomfort fromthe laparoscopy to resolve, but the recovery is quicker than the tiem required to recover from a big abdominal incision. Patients are able to leave the hospital the same day as their laparoscopy and and recovery time is minimized due to the tiny incisions.
Typically at the time of a laparoscopy the fallopian tubes and uterus are evaluated with either a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or saline infusion sonography. This technique can help show areas that the laparoscopic camera may not be able to reach and identify potential problems.
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