Laparoscopy, also known as diagnostic laparoscopy, is a surgical diagnostic procedure used to examine organs within the abdomen. It is a low-risk, minimally invasive procedure that requires only small cuts.
Laparoscopy uses an instrument called laparoscopic instrument to examine the abdominal organs. Laparoscopic instrument is a long, thin tube with high intensity light and a high-resolution camera on the front. The instrument is inserted through a cut in the abdominal wall. While moving, the camera sends images to a video monitor.
Laparoscopy allows the doctor to see the inside of the body without open surgery. The doctor can also receive biopsy samples during this procedure.
Why is laparoscopy performed?
Laparoscopy is often used for identification and diagnosis of source of pain in region of pelvis or abdomen. Usually it is performed when non invasive methods are not able to help in the diagnostics.
Laparoscopic surgery is performed when other diagnostic methods (ultrasound, CT and magnetic resonance) do not provide sufficient information or insight into the diagnosis. The procedure can also be used to take a biopsy or a tissue sample from a particular organ in the abdomen.
The doctor may recommend laparoscopy to examine the following organs:
- Colon and large bowel
- Pelvis or reproductive organs
If doctor looks at these areas with a laparoscopic instrument, the doctor can discover:
- Abdominal mass or tumor
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Liver disease
- Efficiency of certain treatments
- Stage of the cancer spreading
Also, a doctor may be able to perform an intervention so that your condition can be treated immediately after diagnosis.
What are risks of laparoscopy?
The most common risks associated with laparoscopy are bleeding, infection and organ damage in the abdomen. However, these are rare undesired phenomena.
After the procedure, it is important to monitor the signs of infection.
Less common risks include:
- Complications of general anesthesia
- Inflammation of the abdominal wall
- Blood clot that can reach the pelvis, leg or lung
In some circumstances, the surgeon could decide that the risk of diagnostic laparoscopy is too high to justify the benefit of a minimally invasive technique. This situation often occurs in those who have had previous abdominal surgery, which increases the risk of intra abdominal adhesion between structures in the abdomen. Performing laparoscopy in the presence of adhesion will take much longer and increases the risk of organ damage.
Preparation for laparoscopic surgery
You should notify your doctor about any medicines or supplements you are taking.
The doctor may change the dose of any medication that may affect the outcome of laparoscopy. These drugs include: anticoagulants, non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (aspirin, brufen), other drugs that affect blood clotting, plant or dietary supplements, vitamin K.
You should also tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.
Before laparoscopy, the doctor may order blood tests, urinalysis, electrocardiogram (ECG or ECG) and X-ray chest.
It may also be necessary to perform other tests, including ultrasound, CT scan or MR scanning. These tests can help a physician to better understand the abnormality that is being investigated during laparoscopy. This can improve the effectiveness of laparoscopy.
You should not eat and drink at least eight hours before laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is often performed with general anesthesia, which can make you sleepy and incapable of driving a few hours after surgery.
How is laparoscopy performed?
Laparoscopy is usually performed as an ambulatory surgery. That means you will be able to go home the same day.
You will get general anesthesia for this type of surgery. In some cases, local anesthesia is used instead.
During laparoscopy, the surgeon makes a cut below the navel, then inserts a small tube called the cannula. Cannula is used to inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This gas allows the doctor to see the abdominal organs more clearly.
Once the abdomen is up, the surgeon inserts the laparoscope through the cut. The camera attached to the laparoscope displays the images on the screen, allowing you to view your organs in real time.
The number and size of the cuts depend on specific diseases that the surgeon tries to confirm or exclude.
Generally speaking, you will have 1-4 cuts each one between 1 and 2 inches long. These cuts allow you to insert other instruments. For example, a surgeon may need to use another surgical tool to perform a biopsy. During the biopsy he takes a small sample of tissue from the body being examined.
After the procedure is completed, the instruments are removed. The cuts are sealed with sutures or surgical tapes, and over it dressing can be put.
How long does it take to recover from laparoscopy?
Once the operation is complete, you will be observing a few hours before being released from the hospital. Hospital staff will monitor any adverse reactions to anesthesia or the procedure itself, as well as monitor prolonged bleeding.
The time of your recovery and the release from the hospital will vary depending on:
- your overall physical condition
- type of anesthesia
- your body’s reaction to surgery
In some cases, you may need to stay in the hospital for a little longer.
The effects of general anesthesia usually last for several hours.
In days after laparoscopy, you may feel moderate pain and sensitivity in areas where cuts are made. Any pain or discomfort should improve within a few days. A doctor can prescribe medication to alleviate pain.
It is also common to have shoulder pain after the procedure. Pain is usually a result of a carbon dioxide gas used to inflate the abdomen to create a “work area” for surgical instruments. A gas can irritate your diaphragm, which divides your nerves with your shoulders.
You can usually continue all normal activities within seven days. You should go to control about two weeks after laparoscopy.
If you need more information call the Atlas General Hospital at: +381 11 785 88 88.