All About Laparoscopy for Infertility: What to Expect During Laparoscopy for Infertility Diagnosis and Treatment
What Is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that involves making one, two, or three very small cuts in the abdomen, through which the doctor inserts a laparoscope and specialized surgical instruments. A laparoscope is a thin, fiber-optic tube, fitted with a light and camera. Laparoscopy allows your doctor to see the abdominal organs and sometimes make repairs, without making a larger incision that can require a longer recovery time and hospital stay.
When Is Laparoscopy Done?
Your doctor may suggest laparoscopic surgery to help in diagnosing a cause for infertility. Usually, it’s performed only after other infertility testing has been completed.
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, a potential symptom of endometriosis or PID, your doctor may suggest laparoscopic surgery to determine the source of the pain and possibly treat it (by removing scar tissue, for example). Laparoscopic surgery is also performed in the case of ectopic pregnancy.
Why Is Laparoscopy Important?
Some causes of infertility, like endometriosis, can only be diagnosed through laparoscopy. Laparoscopy allows your doctor to not only see what’s inside your abdomen, but also biopsy suspicious growths or cysts.
Also, laparoscopic surgery can treat some causes of infertility, allowing you a better chance at getting pregnant either naturally or with fertility treatments. Laparoscopy can be used to remove the scar tissue that’s causing pain.
How Is Laparoscopy Done?
Laparoscopy is performed in a hospital, under general anesthesia. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare for surgery beforehand. You will probably be told not to eat or drink for 8 or more hours before your scheduled surgery, and you may be instructed to take antibiotics.
You’ll receive an IV, through which fluids and medication to help you relax will be delivered. The anesthesiologist will place a mask over your face, and after breathing a sweet smelling gas for a few minutes, you’ll fall asleep.
Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the doctor will make a small cut around your belly button. Through this cut, a needle will be used to fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This provides room for your doctor to see the organs and move the surgical instruments. Once your abdomen is filled with gas, the surgeon will then place the laparoscope through the cut to look around at your pelvic organs. The surgeon may also biopsy tissue for testing.
Sometimes two or three more small cuts are made, so that other thin surgical instruments can be used to make repairs or move the organs around for a better view.
How Will I Feel During and After Laparoscopy?
During laparoscopic surgery, you’ll be under the effects of general anesthesia, so you should not feel any pain, nor remember the procedure. When you wake up, you may have a sore throat, caused by a tube that is placed there to help you breath during surgery (but is removed before you wake-up).
It’s normal for the area around the cuts to feel sore, and your abdomen may feel tender, especially if your doctor removes a lot of scar tissue. You may feel bloated from the carbon dioxide gas, and you may experience sharp pains in your shoulder. This should go away in a few days.
Though you’ll probably go home on the same day as your surgery, you should plan on taking it easy for at least one or two days. You may need a week or two to recover if many repairs were made. Be sure to speak to your doctor on what to expect.
He or she may also prescribe pain medication and antibiotics.
What are the Risks of Laparoscopy?
As with any surgical procedure, laparoscopy comes with risks. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, one or two women out of every 100 may develop a complication, usually a minor one. Some common complications include:
- bladder infection after surgery
- skin irritation around the areas of incision
Other less common, but potential, risks include:
- formation of adhesions
- hematomas of the abdominal wall
Serious complications are rare, but include:
- damage to the organs or blood vessels found in the abdomen (further surgery may be needed to repair any damage caused.)
- allergic reaction
- nerve damage
- urinary retention
- blood clots
- other general anesthesia complications
- death (around 3 in every 100,000)
What Do the Results Mean?
The surgeon will visually evaluate the pelvic organs and surrounding abdominal organs. He or she will look for the presence of cysts, fibroids, scar tissue or adhesions, and endometrial growths. He or she will also look at the shape, color, and size of the reproductive organs. A dye may be injected through the cervix, so the surgeon can evaluate if the fallopian tubes are open.
Even if no signs of endometriosis or other problems are found, the surgeon may remove a sample of tissue to be tested. Sometimes, very mild endometriosis is microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye with the laparoscopic camera.
If ectopic pregnancy is suspected, the surgeon will evaluate the fallopian tubes for an abnormal pregnancy.
What Happens if the Results Are Abnormal?
Depending on what is wrong, the surgeon may treat the problem during the same surgery. Adhesions, endometrial growths, cysts, and fibroids may be removed in some cases. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, they may be opened, if possible. If an ectopic pregnancy is found, the surgeon will remove the abnormal pregnancy and repair any tissue damage. He or she may need to remove the entire fallopian tube.
After surgery, your doctor will explain what your options are for getting pregnant. If you had fibroids removed or a fallopian tube repaired, you may be able to try to get pregnant without help. Also, in the case of endometriosis or PID, the removal of scar tissue may make it possible to get pregnant without further treatment. If after a few months after surgery you do not get pregnant on your own, your doctor may recommend fertility treatments.
For infertility Patients:
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Frequently Asked Questions
i will have a laparoscopy done in a week,got fibroids, 41 years old, longing for a baby, possoible ovulate 19%
also had a myomectomy done 2003, fibroids grew back, is it possible to have a baby at my age 41 years old.
Sure it is! For “celebrities” that we may know across the country, consider Geena Davis, Mariska Hargitay, Salma Hayek…to name a few!
For your lap, are they just looking to see what’s what? Or are you having a laparoscopic myomectomy this time?
Is your OB/GYN doing your exam/surgery?
Consider seeing a reproductive endocrinologist whose bread and butter is determining such things, maintaining the viability of your womb, and ultimately getting you pregnant!
Don’t give up! *HUG*
Meantime, lower your caffeine intake, get off of any estrogens, and stay away from soy and soy-based products (like even your margarine!) *I went back to real butter!*
what is the recovery time for laparoscopy, from personal experience?
I’m due to have a laparoscopy next week to remove a fibroid. I know the hospitals tell you it is a day case and you will return to normal within 2 or so days, but someone I know told me it took her about 2 weeks to recover and be able to get out of bed!But, she was being treated for endometriosis, whereas I’m not.
I was just wondering if anyone has had a laparoscopy to treat fibroids, and what the recovery time was like before you can get up and do things? And is it painful etc, and is there anything you can do to speed the recovery time?
I had this done a year ago and I recovered straight away, plus I was being treated for endometriosis, polyps and fibroids. I had no pain and was up about the next day. It is a really easy procedure. The only thing that made me feel ill was the after effects of the anaesthetic, which lasted a few hours. Don’t worry you will be fine
Is severe bleeding/clotting normal during your first menstrual cycle after a hysteroscopy to remove fibroids?
I had a hysteroscopy and laparoscopy 3 weeks ago to remove two uterine fibroids and endometriosis on the outside of my uterus. My first post operative menstrual cycle just started. I have the worst menstrual cramps, bleeding and clotting of my life. Is this normal after a hysteroscopy? Thanks for any help.
From my experience, I had mayomactomy ( to remove fibroids) in 2005. 3 days after the surgery I had my period and it was as heavy as it was before the surgery. I had the surgery because I had so many fibroids and heavy bleeding during the period. The situation wasn’t better after the surgery as my doctor said they could not remove all the fibroids as they were so tiny. So I had heavy bleeding after the surgery as well. If the doctors would remove all the fibroids they might not be able to keep my uterus.
I think you have tiny fibroids left inside the uterus. Go to your doctor and have a good check up.
Do they put you to sleep for a Laparoscopy? Do I need someone to drive me home after? Is it true about gas?
Is it true you have really bad gas afterwards? Do you fart during surgery? lol. Do you stay in the hospital overnight or go home? Does it take long? How many days are you in pain afterwards? I have:
cysts on my ovaries
fibroids on my uterus
pre cancerous cells on my cervix
and one of these three (uterine cancer, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Yes, you are asleep for the laproscopy. They normally use an intravenous anesthetic because you don’t need to be asleep for that long. All laproscopic procedures require them to use gas to inflate your abdomen so the surgeon can see what is going on, and have room to work. You may well pass gas during the procedure, it’s kind of understood that you are asleep and medical people don’t pay much mind to natural body functions. You will wake up feeling bloated, like your own personal balloon. Yes, it passes the way gas normally passes. The more you move around, the faster it goes away, but there is usually a day or so of surprise outbursts. How long you are kept after you wake up depends on where you have the surgery done and the doctor. It can be done as a day surgery, if done early in the morning you might be able to go home in the early evening. You could also need to stay in longer if the surgery is needed to be more invasive. If they do a hysterectomy, you will be in about a week most often. You should not be in a lot of pain, if all that is done is a laproscopy repair. You will wake up with about 3-4 poke holes, each closed with either staples or sutures, only a couple per poke hole. You may not feel like running marathons, but should not be in a lot of pain. Mostly misery from the gas bloating. You will be offered pain medications to help with that, as needed. Once you return to your room from recovery, the nurses will be encouraging you to get up and walk a little, and to go to the bathroom under your own steam. I suggest you force yourself up out of the bed no matter what. The sooner you are on your feet, the sooner you feel better and the sooner the gas passes. If you lay there like a lump in the bed, only moving when you absolutely must, you can be miserable for days. If you get up quickly enough, you will still have some of the anesthetic and pain killers left over from the surgery, so won’t feel nearly so much to begin with. Don’t get worked up and worried ahead of time either, dreading what hasn’t happened yet. If you go in keyed up, you have a hard time when you wake up and may wake up crying and combative. You won’t be in agony, no matter what. And hopefully when you wake up, you will hear good news, that it’s all been taken care of and your worries are gone. Good luck, and don’t worry so much. It will all work out.
Cost of laparoscopy for dermoid cyst in my ovary with Blue shild?
My doctor told me to have laparoscopy sergery for dermid cyst and uterine fibroids.
Now my biggest concern is about COST for that…
When I had a check-up in the different office last time, one of nurses told me I had to pay extra because Blue shield told her that I switched a privious insurance (Blue cross) to B shield this Feb, so its to short to have the treatment. They said I needed to wait for 6 months at least.
But a few weeks later, the office gave me back the money because they covered some of the expense.
If I have to pay more than deductilble like that, I have to give up the surgery.
Is it possible that I have to pay much more than deductible (my plan is 2500) for this? I heard it cost about ,000,000 without insurance. I asked my doctor but not sure.
If you changed insurance plans and had a preexisting condition, they will sometimes make you wait to cover that problem until you satisfy a waiting period without treatment for it. You need to look on the back of your insurance card and call the phone number listed. When you call give them the name of the doctor preforming the surgery and the facility where it will be done. They can tell you the percentage they will pay, which could be 80% after you pay your deductible. If you plan deductible is 00, you may have to pay that before they pay the 80%. You need to call and ask them.