The procedure uses a laparoscope. This is a long thin instrument with a light source at its tip, to light up the inside of the abdomen or pelvis. Fibre optic fibres carry images from a lens, also at the tip of the instrument, to a video monitor, which the surgeon and other theatre staff can view on a monitor.
The laparoscope can be moved around within the abdominal or pelvic cavity to give several different views.
Investigations using laparoscopy are routinely performed under a general anaesthetic as a day case, without the need for an overnight stay in hospital.
Remember - you will be asleep with the general anaesthetic during this procedure.
A laparoscopy involves two cuts approximately 5-10mm long. The first cut is made just below the navel. A hollow needle is inserted. This is then connected to a supply of carbon dioxide gas, which is pumped into the abdomen. This lifts the wall of the abdomen away from the organs inside, making it easier and safer to insert the laparoscope and examine the internal organs.
The laparoscope is inserted through a second small cut made on the abdomen. The exact position depends on the reason for the procedure. For instance, women having a gynaecological investigation will usually have the incision in the belly button. This minimises visible scarring.
If the surgeon needs to perform treatment or take samples, additional small cuts are made for long, thin instruments that have been specially designed for this type of surgery. At the end of the procedure, the instruments are removed, the carbon dioxide gas is allowed to escape and the cuts are closed with stitches.