Laparoscopy for infertility is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a laparoscope (a fiber-optic tube with light and video camera) inserted through two or more minor incisions, often in the belly button. The surgeon can then visually examine the pelvic reproductive organs and the pelvic cavity.
Laparoscopy for infertility is generally only performed after other fertility tests have not resulted in a conclusive diagnosis. For this reason, laparoscopy is often performed on women with unexplained infertility.
Laparoscopy also allows for biopsy of suspect growths and cysts that may be hampering fertility. Laparoscopy may be recommended for women experiencing pelvic pain, which is a potential symptom of endometriosis. Laparoscopy can also remove scar tissue that can be a cause of pelvic or abdominal pain.
The procedure may be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthetic and typically takes 30 to 45 minutes. The abdomen is inflated with gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide injected with a needle) to move the organs away from the abdominal wall so that they are visible during the procedure.
Once the abdomen is inflated, the laparoscope is inserted through the small incisions. The surgeon views the interior of the pelvic cavity on a video screen transmitting the images from the camera.
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