A laparoscopy uses a tool called a laparoscope to allow your healthcare provider to look more closely at organs and tissues in your abdomen (belly) or pelvis (the area below your belly and between the hips). A laparoscope is a thin tube with a light and tiny camera. The camera shows a view of the abdominal organs on a TV monitor. It may help your provider find and treat the cause of medical problems you may be having.
This operation may be done because you have a fibroid tumor that is causing problems. The fibroid may need to be removed from the uterus. The uterus, or womb, is the muscular organ at the top of the vagina. A fibroid tumor is a growth of tissue in the wall of the uterus. Fibroids are usually not cancerous.
Fibroids can cause a number of problems, such as heavy bleeding when you have your period, pelvic pain, pelvic pressure, or a change in your bowel and bladder function. Some times fibroids may make it hard to get or stay pregnant.
Your provider can look at the uterus through the laparoscope and use other thin tubes and surgical tools to remove the tumor, depending on its size and where it is found on your uterus.
Examples of alternatives to this procedure are:
Ask your healthcare provider about these choices and which is best for you.
Plan for your care and recovery after the operation. Find someone to drive you home after the surgery. It’s important to allow enough time to heal and rest after your surgery. Try to find other people to help you with your day-to-day duties. It may take several weeks to recover fully from the surgery.
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after surgery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For these reasons, if you are a smoker, you should quit at least 2 weeks before the procedure. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
Follow any other instructions your provider gives you. If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight and the morning before the procedure. Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.
Your healthcare provider may give you medicine to take the night before surgery to clear out your bowel and make the operation safer.
You will be given a local, regional, or general anesthetic before the procedure to keep you from feeling pain. Local and regional anesthesia numb part of your body while you stay awake. You may be given a sedative with the local or regional anesthetic to relax you. General anesthesia relaxes your muscles and puts you to sleep. A general anesthetic is usually recommended if tissue may be removed during the laparoscopy.
Your abdominal cavity is inflated with carbon dioxide gas. This helps your healthcare provider see and protect your organs. Your provider makes a small cut (incision) in or just below your bellybutton and puts a laparoscope through this cut. The scope is used to look at the organs and tissues in your abdomen and pelvis. Your provider may make 1 or more other small cuts in the lower abdomen for other tools. Your healthcare provider will use the tools to remove the fibroid and repair the uterus.
Your provider may use medicine during the surgery to decrease bleeding and stop scar tissue called adhesions from forming after the operation
When finished, your provider will release the gas through the tube of the scope and remove the scope and other tools. He or she will close the cuts in the skin with stitches or surgical glue.
You may stay in the hospital several hours and possibly overnight to recover. You may be sleepy or groggy for a while from the anesthetic. You may have some shoulder pain, feel bloated, or have a mild change in bowel habits for a few days. You may not be able to urinate right away. Your provider may put a small tube (catheter) into your bladder through the urethra to drain urine from your bladder.
You should be able to control any pain you have with pain medicine prescribed by your healthcare provider. The pain should steadily get better.
You should avoid heavy activity such as lifting. Ask your provider how much weight you are allowed to lift.
Your provider will give you other instructions for your recovery and tell you when you should return for follow-up at the office.
The fibroid tumor will be removed and the symptoms it was causing should get better.
Laparoscopy allows you to recover quickly from surgery. You are less likely to have complications or develop scar tissue in the abdomen or pelvis. You can avoid a bigger operation and a longer stay at the hospital.
These risks are rare, but you should ask your provider what risks apply to you.
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