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What is a diagnostic laparoscopy?

A diagnostic laparoscopy is used to look inside your tummy and pelvic area. It uses a thin, telescopic camera called a laparoscope, connected to a monitor displaying the inside of your tummy and pelvis. This can allow your consultant to see what is happening inside your tummy and pelvis without having to open up your abdomen.

What symptoms can a laparoscopy investigate?

You may be recommended a laparoscopy if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Swelling or bloating
  • Urinary and bowel changes
  • Pain during sex
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • A feeling of pressure or fullness across your tummy

Even if you have one or all of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you will require a laparoscopy. However, these are the most common symptoms of the conditions which are detected and treated with a laparoscopy. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms we recommend you speak to a specialist.

What conditions can a laparoscopy detect?

A laparoscopy can both diagnose and treat a range of gynaecological conditions including:

  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Your gynaecologist may be able to treat you during the same procedure, or decide that you need treatment in a second laparoscopic operation at a later date.

What are the benefits of laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is a keyhole procedure, which means that it does not require any large incisions across your tummy. It is minimally invasive and requires a much shorter recovery time than traditional open surgery, and often causes less pain and complications post-surgery.

Find out more about Polyp or Fibroid Removal Under Local Anaesthetic:
RisksWhat will happen on the day of my procedure?Pre/Post Operative InstructionsPolyp/Fibroid Removal Specialists
Length of procedure:
30-60 Minutes
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What happens on the day of my procedure?

Laparoscopy is performed under general anaesthetic, which means you will not be awake during the procedure.

A small incision is made near your belly button. The laparoscope is then inserted through this incision. Your consultant will pump carbon dioxide gas into your tummy to open it up and see your organs more clearly. The laparoscope has a camera on the end which will clearly show your consultant the inside of your tummy and pelvic area. If you are having a diagnostic laparoscopy, your consultant should be able to identify the cause of your problems from these images.

If laparoscopy is being used for treatment, further small cuts will be made in your abdomen for small surgical instruments to be passed through. Your consultant will use the laparoscope to guide these instruments to the right place and carry out whichever treatment you need.

After the procedure, the carbon dioxide will be released from your abdomen and your consultant will close the incisions with stitches or clips, and usually apply a dressing.

Pre/Post-Operative Instructions

What can I do to prepare?

  • You may be asked to avoid food and drink for up to 12 hours before your procedure.
  • You may need to stop taking blood thinning medication if you currently take this. This is to prevent excessive bleeding during the operation.
  • You migth be asked to stop smoking during the lead up to your laparoscopy.

Going home and afterwards:

  • You may feel tired and disoriented after the procedure as you recover from the general anaesthetic. It is also common to vomit or feel nauseous during this time, but this shouldn't last long.
  • You will be monitored by your nurse until you are fully awake and able to eat and drink and use the toilet.
  • You are likely to experience some pain and discomfort around the incisions for the first few days after the procedure. This can be eased with traditional painkillers. You may also experience some bloating or cramps due to the gas used in the procedure. This should resolve itself within a day or two.
  • Your recovery time may vary based on a number of factors, but you can typically expect to return to normal activites within five days.
  • Your recovery may also be longer depending on the treatment you have and your reason for having it.

Risks of Sacrospinous Fixation:

A laparoscopy is a very common and succesful procedure, and is considered low risk. However, as with any surgery, there are always potential risks and complications, including:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding or bruising around the incision
  • Feeling or being sick or the surgery
  • Complications from the carbon dioxide used
  • Complications as a result of general anaesthesia
  • Damage to one of your organs inside the pelvis or to the surrounding blood vessels
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to a major artery

Gynaecological Laparoscopy - Specialists

Mr Yousri Affifi

Mr Yousri Affifi

Consultant Gynaecologist

Mr Y. Afifi has over 25 years of experience in specialised laparoscopic and reproductive surgeries.

He is the director of the Birmingham Endometriosis Centre and lead consultant of the reproductive surgery unit in Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

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Mrs Ruchira Singh

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Ruchira is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with her NHS practice based at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Edgbaston. She is the Clinical Director of Gynaecology at her NHS Trust.

Ruchira is a reviewer for European Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology. She is also a Senior clinical examiner and Honorary lecturer for University of Birmingham.

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