What is laparoscopy?
Normally, the endometrium swells with hormonal changes during each monthly cycle to accommodate a potential fetus. If no pregnancy occurs, it breaks down and is released during menstruation.
In endometriosis, the endometrium grows outside the uterus, and even though it breaks down, it cannot be released normally. This leads to pain and inflammation, which can also cause scar tissue to develop in cysts.
Laparoscopy is a type of surgery in which a laparoscope (a small fiber-optic viewing device similar to a telescope) is inserted into the abdomen to examine the internal organs and look for endometrial lesions. Laparoscopy can be used to diagnose endometriosis and can also be used to treat endometriosis by removing the small lesions and cysts.
How is laparoscopy performed?
A laparoscopy is done under general anesthesia. It is generally an outpatient surgery, but if the surgery is lengthier than expected, patients may spend the night in the hospital. If segments of the bowel or intestine are removed, a few days in the hospital may be required.
During the surgery, a small incision is made in the abdomen near the belly button. Carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the abdomen to lift the abdominal wall away from the internal organs. A laparoscope is inserted through that incision. One or two other small incisions may be made for additional surgical instruments to be inserted if lesions are found and need to be removed.
What is the recovery time?
The surgery itself should take only a few hours; most patients leave the hospital or outpatient clinic the same day, though they will not be able to drive themselves home. There will be some pain at the incision site after the procedure; pain medication and antibiotics will usually be prescribed.
The surgeon will place restrictions on bending, lifting, having intercourse, and tub bathing or swimming for about two weeks following the surgery.
Patients who experience excessive pain, redness, or swelling at the incision sites, especially after the first two weeks following surgery, should speak with their physician.
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