A diagnostic laparoscopy is a surgical procedure under general anaesthetic. It is what is known as the ‘gold standard’ for assessing Fallopian tube function and inspecting the situation in the woman’s abdomen.
This is not necessary for everyone, but in some cases your fertility doctor will suggest there are reasons for having this test carried out. This may be because your abdominal cavity has been operated on in the past, or because you have had infections. Sometimes, based on a report of painful periods, the doctor suspects the existence of abnormalities that cannot be visualised any other way (macular endometrioses, for example). Sometimes we see on the echograph or hysterosalpingograph an abnormality that may necessitate a laparoscopy. In most cases an abnormality that becomes clear during the laparoscopy can also be remedied immediately, which means a laparoscopy is often also the first step in treating infertility.
Practical info : your doctor will refer you to a colleague with specific experience in the field for a laparoscopy (see laser surgery). You will be given an appointment to discuss the arrangements for the operation and the planning.
The operation involves inserting a tube (laparoscope) into the abdominal cavity via a small incision in the navel. The abdominal cavity is filled with CO2 gas to create an area which can be examined. Operating instruments can be inserted through further openings of approximately 0.5 cm at the bottom of the abdomen. In this way all manner of operations can be carried out without conspicuous scarring.
The operation is carried out in the day surgery, from which you will receive a brochure.
Your health must be assessed before any surgical intervention. The surgeon will generally discuss the operation with you. A blood sample is always required to determine blood group and for a blood clotting test.
The risks of the operation are limited. There is a chance of infection (<1%). There is a chance of bleeding (bruise on the skin or internal bleeding) (<1%). There is a chance of accidentally perforating an adjacent organ such as the bladder or intestine (extremely rare). Very occasionally it may be necessary to interrupt the operation and proceed with a classic operation via abdominal incision.