The word ‘laparoscopy’ comes from ‘lapara’ which means flank or loin, and ‘scopein’ meaning to look or to examine. Diagnostic laparoscopy is a surgical procedure done by making very small incisions to examine the inside of the abdominal cavity by inserting specialized cameras and is used for diagnosing or knowing more about a condition relating to the abdominal cavity or the pelvic area.
When is diagnostic laparoscopy used?
When a woman has certain symptoms that need more investigation, such as persistent abdominal pain, a lump or mass in the abdominal or the pelvic area, heavy bleeding etc. the procedure may be used to find out the reason for the symptoms. If a woman has been diagnosed with or is suspected to have cancer, laparoscopy may be used to stage the cancer. If a woman has been in an accident, the procedure could help to find out about internal injuries if any, and their extent.
This procedure allows a physician to actually look inside the abdominal cavity and examine the organs inside without actually having to surgically open up the abdomen. At the same time, surgical procedures such as removal of tissue or an organ (such as a hysterectomy) or a biopsy can also be performed.
What conditions can be detected with diagnostic laparoscopy?
Inflamed appendix or appendicitis is a condition that can be clearly diagnosed using the procedure. Conditions such as endometriosis, its extent and nature can also be detected so that the best course of treatment can be decided. Inflammation of the gall bladder or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can also be definitively diagnosed.
Difficult to detect cancers such as ovarian cancer can be diagnosed with the help of laparoscopy. It can also be used to check the extent of a cancer or if it has spread (metastasized) to other organs. Other Life threatening conditions such as an ectopic pregnancy can be diagnosed as well.
How is diagnostic laparoscopy performed?
The procedure is usually done under general anesthetic though in cases, local anesthesia may be used. Typically a very small incision is put just below the navel and one more may be put just above the pubic line. Through the incision, carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the adnominal cavity to create space for the surgeon to work and observe internal organs.
Sometimes a dye may also be injected into the abdominal cavity to help differentiate and see the organs properly. A tube is then placed in the incision through which a highly specialized video camera or a laparoscope is inserted.
Advantages of Diagnostic laparoscopy
Laparoscopy and laparoscopic surgery have several advantages over traditional surgical techniques that require major surgery. Firstly Laparoscopy procedures are minimally invasive and do not require large incisions to be placed in the abdomen.
Because of this there is also less chance of infection or bleeding, which are some of the risks of major adnominal surgery. Diagnostic laparoscopy also requires minimal recovery time and may be performed as an outpatient procedure requiring no overnight stay at the hospital.