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Operative Laparoscopy

What is an operative laparoscopy?

An operative laparoscopy is a procedure in which your health care provider uses a laparoscope to look at the organs and tissue inside your abdomen and make repairs to improve your symptoms.  A laparoscope is a thin tube with a light and tiny camera. Your health care provider will remove adhesions or endometriosis, one or both ovaries, one or both fallopian tubes, my appendix and anything else in his judgement is necessary to treat my condition.  If you have a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy the physician may make an incision in your tube and remove the pregnancy.  You may not be able to become pregnant after this surgery.

When is it used?

You may have a laparoscopy if you have been unable to become pregnant, have pain of an unknown origin, or experience abnormal bleeding. There may be other procedures that can be substituted for this procedure; you should ask your health care provider about these choices.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

This minor surgical procedure may help the health care provider make a more accurate diagnosis about the cause of your symptoms. Possible causes include pelvic adhesions or endometriosis. Your provider may be able to treat the cause during the laparoscopy. Your stay at the hospital and time needed to recover will be much shorter than with more extensive abdominal surgery. You are also less likely to develop a type of scar tissue called adhesions in the abdomen or pelvis.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your health care provider. There are additional procedural risks that you should discuss with your physician prior to the procedure:

  • The abdominal organs, glands, or blood vessels may be damages. You may need abdominal surgery to repair them at the time of the laparoscopy.
  • The lining of the abdominal wall may become inflamed.
  • You may have infection or bleeding.
  • You may have some pain after the procedure.
  • There may be damage to part of your intestines or colon, which could result in an infection track (fistula) between you intestine and skin, vagina or other organ and need additional surgery.
  • After this procedure you still may not be able to become pregnant.

How do I prepare for an operative laparoscopy?

Follow your health care provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after the surgery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, 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. Also, your wounds will heal much better if you do not smoke after the 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 midnight and do not eat or drink after midnight.  Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water. Follow any other instructions your provider gives you.

What happens after the procedure?

You may stay in the hospital several hours or overnight to recover. The anesthetic may cause sleepiness or grogginess for a while. You may have some shoulder pain, feel bloated, or find a change in bowel habits for a few days. You may not be able to urinate right away and may have a catheter (a small tube) placed into your bladder through the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside). 


Plan for your care and recovery after the operation. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help you with your day-to-day duties. 

You should avoid heavy activity such as lifting. You should ask your health care provider how much you should lift, what other steps you should take, and when you should come back for a checkup.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You develop a fever of 100 F (37.8 C).
  • You have redness, swelling, pain, or drainage from the incisions.
  • You become dizzy and faint.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.
  • You become short of breath.
  • You have abdominal pain or swelling that gets worse.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its results.
  • You want to make another appointment.