Laparoscopy refers to a method of doing surgery that is often referred to as “keyhole surgery”. During a laparoscopy, an incision is made at the belly button and a camera is inserted. The abdomen is then filled with air in order to be able to see around inside. Often other small incisions are made on the abdomen through which instruments can be inserted that are used to manipulate or move things around inside the abdomen. All of this can be seen by the surgeon on a TV screen.

We do laparoscopy to complete many different types of surgery. A tubal ligation or removal of the fallopian tubes can be completed by laparoscopic surgery. A removal of an ovarian cyst or an ectopic pregnancy can be completed by laparoscopic surgery. Sometimes, we do laparoscopic surgery just to look for the reason why someone is having bad pain. Hysterectomies can often be completed laparoscopically as well.

With any laparoscopic surgery, there are risks. Bleeding and infection are risks inherent to any surgery. There is a risk of damage to any structure in the abdomen, including bowel, bladder, ureter, and blood vessels. If an injury were to occur, this could require the laparoscopic surgery to be abandoned and a larger incision on the belly might need to be made in order to fix the injury. Sometimes, once we can see inside the abdomen, we find that we are simply unable to complete the surgery laparoscopically. In these cases in order to finish the procedure, a larger abdominal incision might need to be made. After surgery the development of blood clots is more common, and sometimes these can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. Although exceedingly rare, any surgery has a small risk of death.