A laparoscopy is a type of surgery that lets a surgeon look inside your body without making a large incision (cut). It's used to help diagnose and sometimes treat conditions that develop in your belly or pelvis.

To do a laparoscopy, a surgeon makes a small cut near your belly button that's usually a half-inch long or less. The surgeon inserts a long, thin tube with a camera through the cut and into your body.

This tube is called a laparoscope. The camera sends images from inside your body to a video monitor. This allows the surgeon to see inside your body.

Sometimes during a laparoscopy, the surgeon will use these tools to do procedures to treat certain problems. For example, if a laparoscopy finds a tumor, the surgeon may remove it completely during the same surgery. Many common surgical treatments can be done with laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopy is sometimes called "minimally invasive surgery" or "keyhole surgery," because it requires smaller cuts than traditional, "open" surgery. The use of smaller cuts has several benefits, including:

What is it used for?

Laparoscopy is used to help diagnose the cause of symptoms in the belly or pelvis. It's usually done if imaging tests, such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRI scans, haven't provided enough information to confirm a diagnosis. The test is often used to help diagnose:

Digestive diseases Urinary disorders Disorders in the female reproductive system, which includes the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes A surgeon uses laparoscopy to:

Examine organs and glands to look for: Abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors (cancerous and not cancerous) Scar tissue and adhesions Bleeding Infections Collect tissue samples to check for disease Find out if a known cancer has spread in the body

Why do I need a laparoscopy?

There are many reasons why you may need a laparoscopy, including if: You have pain or other symptoms in your belly or pelvis and imaging tests haven't been able to find the cause. You've been in a serious accident or have been wounded and may have organ injuries.

You have cancer and your health care provider needs to know if it has spread to other parts of your body. This information helps choose your treatment.

You've had abnormal liver tests and your provider doesn't know why. If you're female, you may need a laparoscopy to:

Find out what's causing problems getting pregnant Diagnose symptoms that may involve your reproductive organs, including: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) Endometriosis Ectopic pregnancy Uterine fibroids Ovarian cysts

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