Getting a Laparoscopy to Explore for Endometriosis
Endometriosis can be a painful and debilitating condition. Luckily, a growing number of gynecologists can perform exploratory surgery via laparoscopy, as well as laser treating any adhesions that they find. Here is what to expect.
Preparing for the operation
Laparoscopies are usually performed under a general anesthetic so you need to fast beforehand. The anesthetist will give you a dose of medication that makes you sleepy, followed by a full anaesthtic.
The operation will then commence
The surgeon will then make a small incision through the belly button. Inert gas is blown into the abdominal cavity to make the space easier to navigate. The surgeon can then thread a camera on a thin wire through the abdomen and explore any areas that have adhesions. The surgeon can then use a light laser to remove the adhesions. This is a very small action but usually provides substantial relief to the patient going forward.
Once the surgeon is confident that they have seen all of the affected areas and assessed, and where possible, treated, they will remove as much of the gas as possible from the belly. The anaesthetist will then slowly wake the patient up and send them to recovery.
Recovery - immediate
The overall recovery from the laparoscopy should be simple, with the most severe side effects coming from the general anesthetic which can make people woozy and nauseous for a few days. Some patients also get a degree of referred pain over the next few days which can come from the gas in the belly and is often expereinced in the shoulder joint due to the layout of the nerves. There may also be some bloating whilst the gas works it's way out.
Recovery - short term
Immediately after the operation a lot of patients have much-reduced pain associated with periods and may have improved fertility for the next few cycles after treatment. There is not likely to be able residual pain from the operation or insertion site as the wound is very small. Scarring is minimal and usually concealed around the belly button.
Unfortunately, over time the adhesions may return, so you may need to regularly repeat the laparoscopic surgery over the course of your life.
If you have endometriosis having a laparoscopy is a great idea. It can help your gynecologist to assess the extent of your endometriosis and remove adhesions to reduce your period pain and improve fertility. Why not chat to your specialist to see whether this might be a good option for you?