What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy, also known as diagnostic laparoscopy, is a surgical diagnostic procedure used to examine the organs inside the abdomen. It’s a low-risk, minimally invasive procedure that requires only small incisions. Laparoscopy uses an instrument called a laparoscope to look at the abdominal organs. A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. The instrument is inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall. As it moves along, the camera sends images to a video monitor. Laparoscopy allows your doctor to see inside your body in real time, without open surgery. Your doctor also can obtain biopsy samples during this procedure.
Why is laparoscopy performed?
Laparoscopy is often used to identify and diagnose the source of pelvic or abdominal pain. It’s usually performed when noninvasive methods ultrasound ، CT scan and MRI scan are unable to help with diagnosis. The procedure may also be used to take a biopsy, or sample of tissue, from a particular organ in the abdomen. Your doctor may recommend laparoscopy to examine the following organs:
- small intestine and large intestine (colon)
- pelvic or reproductive organs
The role of laparoscopy in the diagnosis of diseases
Abdominal pain: diagnosticlaparoscopy_page_2Laparoscopy has a role in the diagnosis of both acute and chronic abdominal pain. There are many causes of abdominal pain. Some of these causes include appendicitis, adhesions or intra-abdominal scar tissue, pelvic infections, endometriosis, abdominal bleeding and, less frequently, cancer. It is used in patients with irritable bowel disease to exclude other causes of abdominal pain. Surgeons can often diagnose the cause of the abdominal pain and, during the same procedure, correct the problem.
Abdominal mass: A patient may have a lump (mass or tumor), which can be felt by the doctor, the patient, or seen on an X-ray. Most masses require a definitive diagnosis before appropriate therapy or treatment can be recommended. Laparoscopy is one of the techniques available to your physician to look directly at the mass and obtain tissue to discover the diagnosis.
Ascites: The presence of fluid in the abdominal cavity is called ascites. Sometimes the cause of this fluid accumulation cannot be found without looking into the abdominal cavity, which can often be accomplished with laparoscopy.
Liver disease: Non-invasive imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT scan (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may discover a mass inside or on the surface of the liver. If non-invasive imaging cannot give your physician enough information, a liver biopsy may be needed to establish the diagnosis. Diagnostic laparoscopy is one of the safest and most accurate ways to obtain tissue for diagnosis. In other words, it is an accurate way to collect a biopsy to sample the liver or mass without actually opening the abdomen.
The effectiveness of certain treatments: Your doctor may need information regarding the status of a previously treated disease, such as cancer. This may occur after treatment with some forms of chemotherapy or before more chemotherapy is started. Also, information may be provided by diagnostic laparoscopy before planning a formal exploration of the abdomen, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Results of laparoscopy
If a biopsy was taken, a pathologist will examine it. A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in tissue analysis. A report detailing the results will be sent to your doctor. Normal results from laparoscopy indicate the absence of abdominal bleeding, hernias, and intestinal blockages. They also mean that all your organs are healthy. Abnormal results from laparoscopy indicate certain conditions, including:
- adhesions or surgical scars
- appendicitis, an inflammation of the intestines
- fibroids, or abnormal growths in the uterus
- cysts or tumors
- inflammation of the gall bladder
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- infection of the reproductive organs