Laparoscopy is a procedure that enables your surgeon to look inside the abdominal cavity and pelvis to diagnose and treat a variety of abnormal conditions. A laparoscope is a long, narrow telescope with a light source and video camera at the end. The scope is passed through a tiny incision into the abdomen where images from the camera are projected onto a large monitor for the surgeon to view the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopic ports have channels inside the port enabling the surgeon to pass gas in and out to expand the viewing area or to insert tiny surgical instruments for treatment purposes. The surgical instruments used in operative laparoscopy are very small but appear much larger when viewed through a laparoscope.
Laparoscopy may be diagnostic, therapeutic or both:
- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy is used by the surgeon as a diagnostic tool to view the abdominal cavity and pelvis to make a diagnosis (treatment is not administered). This is particularly useful when other tests such as X-rays, CT scans or blood work are inconclusive.
- Therapeutic Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy is considered therapeutic when the surgeon treats a problem, that is found during a diagnostic laparoscopy, with surgical instruments through ports. If the opportunity to treat a problem during a diagnostic laparoscopy arises, a therapeutic laparoscopy will usually be performed, depending on the patient’s condition and the surgeon’s preference.