Importance of laparoscopy in infertility testing and treatment
The existence of laparoscopy can be in the year 1960 with the development of diagnostic laparoscopy. The procedure was first used for surgery in the year 1980 by Semm K and Muehe E. Laparoscopy has become a golden standard for numerous surgeries regarding organ systems. Some of the most common surgeries among them are reproductive surgeries. Technological advances of this age have made laparoscopic surgeries safer and feasible across the globe.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure which allows your doctor to see the abdominal organs and they can diagnose and repair organs. If you are a woman suffering from infertility, there is a possibility that you may need laparoscopy for diagnosing or treating your condition.
There are many fertility issues that can be corrected using a laparoscopy. Once your condition is corrected using laparoscopy, you may be able to get pregnant within a couple of months. If you are unable to conceive after laparoscopy, then you may need other fertility treatments like In vitro Fertilization (IVF) in order to conceive.
What is laparoscopy for infertility?
Laparoscopy for infertility is a minimally invasive procedure. In this procedure, a small cut is made through which a device called a laparoscope (a device which is attached to a video camera and light) is inserted. The cut is often made in or near the belly button. The laparoscope will send video signals of the organs to the video monitor. The doctor will examine your reproductive organs through the video monitor. They may also decide to do a surgery if required in order to treat your infertility. The surgery may require multiple cuts to introduce surgical tools in your body.
What is the need for laparoscopy in infertility diagnosis?
Your doctor may ask you to get laparoscopic surgery for diagnosing a cause for infertility. Generally, the procedure is performed as a part of infertility diagnosis but it can turn into surgery if needed. The reasons for which you may have to go for laparoscopy are:
- If you are experiencing pain during sexual intercourse
- If you are suffering from a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or intense pelvic adhesions
- If you are intense menstrual cramps at times apart from your periods
- If the doctor suspects you have endometriosis
- If the doctor suspects an ectopic pregnancy
If the doctor finds a condition during the diagnostic laparoscopy, they may decide to perform surgery right away. Your doctor may perform surgical laparoscopy for the following reasons:
- If they find endometrial deposits. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that forms the lining of the uterus (womb) starts growing outside the uterus. Endometriosis is believed to cause infertility and some researchers believe that take out endometrial deposits can improve pregnancy rates. Hence, they might do a surgery to remove the growth.
- If they find ovarian cysts which could have been the reason why you are suffering from or your fallopian tubes are blocked.
- If they suspect hydrosalpinx (this could be found in a diagnostic test called Hysterosalpingography test (HSG test)). Hydrosalpinx is a type of blocked fallopian tube. The doctor may remove the affected tube. However, you will still be able to have a baby.
- If your fallopian tube needs to be unblocked or repaired. This could be the reason why you are having infertility issues. Once the repair and unblock is done you will be able to get pregnant if it was the reason for your infertility.
- If they find a fibroid which is causing you pain, blocking your fallopian tubes or distorting your uterine cavity.
- If you are suffering from PCOS and need ovarian drilling to help to regulate your ovulation.
How is the procedure of laparoscopy performed?
A laparoscopy procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete and is done under general anesthesia in a hospital or a doctor’s clinic (if it is only a diagnostic laparoscopy). If the laparoscopy is performed in your doctor’s clinic and something is found during the procedure which needs surgery, then you will have to get laparoscopy done again in a hospital for the repairs.
Your doctor will let you know if there are any specific steps to follow prior to the surgery. You may be told not to eat or drink for 8 or more hours before the surgery. They may also ask you to take antibiotics.
During the preparation for the surgery, the doctors will ask you to change into a hospital gown. They will give you an IV which will help you relax. Then you will be given the anesthesia. As the procedure starts, the doctor will make a small cut around your abdomen. Through the cut, they will inflate your stomach with carbon dioxide gas which will provide room for the doctors to see the organs better and move the surgical instruments.
Once the gas has filled the abdomen, the doctor will then insert the laparoscope through the cut to exam your pelvic organs. If they find something to repair then they will do the surgery and repair the organs. The doctor may also take tissue samples for a biopsy if needed. Once the surgery is completed, the doctor will close the cuts.
How will I feel after the laparoscopy procedure?
Since you will be given anesthetic during the surgery, you won’t feel any pain. Although when you wake up you might have a sore throat if the doctors have placed a tube down your throat to help with the breathing. The areas in the abdomen where the cuts were made might feel sore. You may also feel a bit bloated and experience pain in your shoulder due to the carbon dioxide gas used during the surgery. However, all these symptoms will go away within a couple of hours to a few days. You might need a week or two to completely recover from the surgery.