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Laparoscopic Surgery

Overview

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive way to perform procedures that were once extensive and dangerous. Laparoscopic surgery is used for procedures in the abdomen and pelvis, so large incisions are not needed to enter the area. Patients and their doctors choose laparoscopic surgery because it is safer, there is a shorter recovery time, there is less pain, and there is less chance of hemorrhaging.

How Do You Know You Need It?

Women can suffer from symptoms of endometriosis and undergo a pelvic exam, but an official diagnosis is usually not made until the patient is examined through a laparoscopic procedure.

Laparoscopy is the most common method used to remove endometriosis. In severe cases, laparoscopy might not be the best option, but in mild to moderate cases, it is a safe, effective solution. The procedure eliminates the need to make a large incision, reducing the risk for infection, shortens the recovery time following the procedure, and decreases the pain.

Endometriosis is not only painful it can interfere with a number of normal processes of the body. Severe endometriosis tissue can interfere with the bladder and bowel. It can cause pain and lead to infertility. Women who have undergone unsuccessful hormone therapy to treat endometriosis will want to consider laparoscopic surgery as a solution. In some cases, doctors and patients skip right to surgery, especially since surgery is required to diagnose the problem. Hormone therapy is used to treat suspected or assumed endometriosis, but an official diagnosis is only possible during surgery. Endometrial tissue can be removed during diagnostic surgery, streamlining the treatment process.

What Are The Benefits Of Laparoscopic Surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is safer than other, more invasive options. Recovery time is shorter and there are fewer risks than when more invasive surgery is used. It is the only way endometriosis can be officially diagnosed. It is also the most effective way for treating endometriosis, especially in moderate to severe cases. It is reported that 70 to 100% of women experience pain relief within a month of surgery. However, there is a chance endometriosis can return and bring with it the pain. Nearly half of all women experience a resurgence of pain, but hormone therapy can extend the pain-free period and prevent re-growth of new endometrial tissue.

Who Is Not A Candidate For Laparoscopic Surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is a safe option for just about every woman suffering from endometriosis, but there might be specific circumstances in which your doctor will not clear you for the procedure.

Infertility

Endometriosis is often a cause of infertility. Those suffering from moderate to severe endometriosis will have their chances of pregnancy increased with the removal of endometriosis. Additional fertility treatments might be needed after the laparoscopic removal. This might include fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization, or insemination. Most young women under 35 are encouraged to try conceiving naturally before using other methods.

If you suffer from pain that might be associated with endometriosis, speak with your doctor at Women’s Health Care of Georgia about laparoscopic surgery and other treatment options.

Preparation and Procedure

This method of surgery uses a laparoscope, which is a camera attached to a wand. There is also a light source attached to the wand. The abdomen is inflated to make movement of the wand easier during the procedure. Patients are usually unconscious during the procedure, but there are instances when local or spinal anesthetic is used, instead of general anesthesia.

The abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide, which is injected with a needle. Once the area is inflated, the doctor makes a small incision and inserts a laparoscope. A complete examination is done, which might require additional incisions. The laparoscopic examination usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

If endometriosis is found during the examination or there is presence of scar tissue, it will be removed. The elimination of the endometriosis and scar tissue eliminates the pain associated with the condition and makes fertility possible. This is done either by cutting and removing the tissue, or using a laser beam to destroy it. Once the procedure is complete, the incisions are sealed with stitches.

Laparoscopic surgery is usually an outpatient procedure. Most patients are able to return to their normal routine within a week.

Risks

Laparoscopic surgery is considered much safer than other surgical procedures, but there are still risks. These include:

  • Excessive bleeding, which is treated with a larger abdominal incision to control the bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to the bladder, bowel, or uterus
  • Scar tissue
Before committing to surgery, speak with your doctor about any concerns you might have. The skill and experience of the doctor is important in all surgeries, but especially when treating endometriosis through laparoscopic surgery, since additional training is needed to operate the laparoscope, lasers, and other tools used in the procedure.