Gynaecology Procedures | Laparoscopy ('keyhole' surgery)

What is it?

A laparoscopy involves the insertion of a narrow telescope into the abdominal cavity through the tummy button. Further instruments may be inserted lower down in the bikini line. The procedure enables the surgeon to diagnose and treat many pelvic conditions. The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic.


What are the advantages?

The keyhole approach avoids the need for large incisions and is usually performed as a day case. Women get home faster and return to work nd normal activities quicker.


What are the risks?

The usual surgical risks of bleeding, infection and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are less than with open surgery, however no operation is risk-free. There is a 1:800 risk of damaging a blood vessel or organ inside the abdomen; this would require a larger incision on the abdomen to repair the injury. There is a less significant, but more common risk of infection in the small scars. This risk is lessened if the stitches are removed 5-7 days after the operation. This can be done at the hospital or by the local GP practice nurse.


How long will it take to recover?

Typically women are back to normal within a fortnight. It is important to remember that you should steadily improve after a laparoscopic procedure. If at any point you start experiencing more pain, develop a high temperature or suffer from vomiting or diarrhoea you should seek medical advice immediately.