Gynecologic laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which the gynecologist inflates your abdomen with CO2, and passes a surgical telescope with a camera through a small cut near the umbilicus, to examine your pelvic organs.
This procedure is known as “Keyhole surgery”, due to the small incision made in your abdomen. Usually, the cut is about 1-centimeter-long, which allows the gynecologist to perform the surgery while avoiding the large incisions.
Which conditions does gynecologic laparoscopy treat?
Gynae laparoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat multiple conditions. including:
- Ovarian cysts
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic issues (urinary incontinence, uterine prolapse…)
It may also be combined with other procedures, such as hysterectomy, to improve post-surgery results.
How to prepare for gynecologic laparoscopy?
Before the surgery, your doctor will check your medical status, and explain the procedure in detail.
Here are the steps you need to take before the surgery:
- Stop eating and drinking 6 to 12 hours before the surgery
- Avoid blood thinners (Aspirin, warfarin…) a few days before your appointment
- Quit smoking a few days before the operation
It is preferable to plan for someone to drive you to the hospital and pick you up later on the day of the surgery.
What to expect during the surgery?
Gynae laparoscopy is usually done under a general anesthetic, so you won’t feel anything during the procedure.
The gynecologist will make a small incision in your abdomen, from 1 to 1.5 cm, which allows him to pass the medical instruments into your body, and then perform the surgery.
First, he will insert a fine tube to inflate your belly with CO2, allowing him to see your organs clearly, and treat them properly. Then he inserts a laparoscope with a camera connected to a tv screen in front of him, which makes it easier for him to monitor and perform the operation.
If the surgeon needs to remove certain organs, he might make additional incisions to insert the needed instruments, and guide them through the laparoscope to achieve the surgery.
Once done, the gynecologist will make sure to let out the CO2 from your abdomen, and close the small cuts with medical stitches or clips.
If the gynecologic laparoscopy is used for diagnosis, the procedure will take between 30 to 60 minutes. In case it was performed to treat a specific condition, it might take longer depending on the case.
What to expect after the gynae laparoscopy?
As you recover from the anesthetic after surgery, you might feel disorientated or sick. Nurses will look after you until you are completely awake and able to eat and drink normally.
If everything went well, your doctor may give you permission to leave the hospital the same day, or the following day. He will set up a follow-up appointment to remove the stitches and check on your recovery.
As you might feel some pain and discomfort, your doctor will prescribe painkilling medication to help relieve the pain. Due to the gas used to inflate your abdomen during the surgery, you might experience bloating and cramping.
To recover fast, you need to rest as much as you can, and follow your doctor instructions, while taking these steps:
- Avoid driving for 24 hours after the surgery
- Avoid sports and physical activities
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations for keeping your wounds clean.
- Try not to scrub the treated area
- Avoid carrying heavyweights
The recovery time may vary from one patient to another, depending on the treated case.
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