Sometimes, a physical exam alone cannot find the problems that can occur with a woman’s reproductive organs. When that is the case, issues can be discovered by laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. These two procedures provide a direct look at the pelvic organs providing a way to both diagnose and treat reproductive issues in women.
Diagnostic laparoscopy may be used to look at the outside of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and internal pelvic area. Diagnostic hysteroscopy is used to look inside the uterus. If an abnormal condition is detected during the diagnostic procedure, the need for a second surgery can be avoided by performing operative laparoscopy or hysteroscopy to correct it at the same time.
What are the benefits of laparoscopy ?
Laparoscopy can help your doctor diagnose and treat many problems including uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, adhesions, tubal disease, genital tuberculosis, and other abnormalities. Many infertility patients require laparoscopy for a complete evaluation after the basic infertility tests are performed without a clear diagnosis.
Before the advent of laparoscopic surgery, diagnosing and treating gynecological problems required major surgery which included many days of hospitalization, long recovery times, and greater risks. However, laparoscopy allows correction of these problems on an outpatient basis. The laparoscopy procedure decrease patient discomfort, significantly reduce recovery time, and has minimal risks.
How is laparoscopy performed?
After anesthesia, a needle is inserted through the navel, and the abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide gas. As the gas enters the abdomen, it creates a space inside allowing a view of the reproductive organs. Next, a long thin telescope (laparoscope) is inserted through the navel. It is connected to a tiny camera which sends images to a television monitor. While looking at the monitor, the surgeon can see the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and nearby structures. A small probe is inserted through another incision in order to move the pelvic organs into clear view. If no abnormalities are noted, the incision is closed. If defects or abnormalities are discovered, your doctor can proceed to operative laparoscopy.
A variety of infertility disorders can be safely treated through the laparoscope during the same surgery. Using many different operating instruments, your physician can perform procedures including:
Treatment of blocked tubes
Removal of cysts
Treatment of ovarian cysts
Removal of diseased ovaries
Removal of uterine fibroids
Treatment of ectopic pregnancy
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For infertility evaluation laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are often performed simultaneously soon after a woman’s period when uterine conditions are more easily evaluated and there is no risk of interrupting a pregnancy.
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