Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy allow doctors to diagnose and correct many gynecologic disorders on an outpatient basis. Patient recovery time is brief and significantly less than the recovery time from abdominal surgery through larger incisions. Before undergoing laparoscopy or hysteroscopy, patients should discuss with their doctors any concerns about the procedures and their risks.
Laparoscopy is a procedure to look inside of the abdomen and pelvis using a laparoscope. This helps to see the ovaries, outside of the tubes and uterus and other organs inside the abdomen. The laparoscope is a special telescope to which a light source and camera is attached. It is about as thick as a pen and about 12 cm long. Laparoscopy can help doctors diagnose many gynecological problems including endometriosis, uterine fibroids and other structural abnormalities, ovarian cysts, adhesions (scar tissue), and ectopic pregnancy. If you have pain, history of past pelvic infection, or symptoms suggestive of pelvic disease, your doctors may recommend this procedure as part of your evaluation. Laparoscopy is sometimes recommended after completing an initial infertility evaluation on both partners. It is usually performed soon after menstruation ends.
Laparoscopy is commonly used to:
- find the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, pelvic pain
- as part of investigation of infertility.
In addition to simply looking inside, a doctor can use fine instruments to perform surgery inside the abdomen. This laparoscopic surgery is also called ‘key-hole surgery’ or ‘minimal invasive surgery’ and maybe used to treat cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, perform hysterectomy and even pelvic floor reconstruction.
In general, compared to traditional surgery, with laparoscopic surgery there is usually:
- less pain following the procedure.
- a shorter hospital stay.
- a quicker recovery.
- a much smaller scar
A hysteroscopy is a procedure which uses a fine telescope, called a hysteroscope, to examine the lining and shape of the uterus (womb cavity). It is performed either in the outpatient department or in theatre, normally as a day patient. The doctor or nurse looking after you will help you decide where to have the procedure. Hysteroscopy is a useful procedure to evaluate women with infertility, recurrent miscarriage, or abnormal uterine bleeding. Diagnostic hysteroscopy is used to examine the uterine cavity, and is helpful in diagnosing abnormal uterine conditions such as broids protruding into the uterine cavity, scarring, polyps, and congenital malformations. A hysterosalpingogram (an x-ray using dye to outline the uterus and fallopian tubes), pelvic ultrasound or sonohysterogram (ultrasound with introduction of saline into the uterine cavity), or an endometrial biopsy may be performed to evaluate the uterus prior to hysteroscopy.
What are the benefits of having a hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy can help to find the cause of problems relating to:
- heavy vaginal bleeding
- irregular periods
- bleeding between periods
- bleeding after sexual intercourse
- bleeding after menopause
- persistent discharge
- scar tissue in the womb
In some cases, once a diagnosis has been made, the hysteroscope can also be used in the treatment of the problem. For example, problems that can be treated during a hysteroscopy are:
- fibroids (growths in the uterus which are not cancer)
- polyps (blood-filled growths which are not cancer)
- thickening of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium)
- removal of displaced intrauterine contraceptive devices
- removal of scar tissue.