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Diagnostic Laparoscopy

Preparing for the Procedure

Laparoscopic surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you go home the day of your surgery. For your particular situation, you will be given specific instructions as to where and when to arrive at the medical facility, how to prepare for your surgery, and what to expect the day of and the days following your surgery.

The Surgery Itself

As part of a diagnostic laparoscopy, a small incision, or cut, will be made in or just below your navel. A tube, called a trocar, will then be inserted into your abdomen. The laparoscope will then be inserted. Through this, your doctor will view the inside of your abdomen on a video screen. The laparoscope can also take pictures and videotape the procedure.
During the diagnostic laparoscopy, your doctor will be looking for anything that appears abnormal. If your doctor finds something abnormal during the examination, or if an operative laparoscopy was already planned, the main part of the procedure will then begin. Occasionally, two or three small incisions may need to be made just below the navel for other instruments.

Complications of a Diagnostic Laparoscopy

No procedure is ever completely free of risks. However, laparoscopy has been performed for many years with successful results and limited complications. If they do occur, some possible complications may include, but are not limited to:
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve injury
  • Complications from the air placed in the abdomen, such as air going into a blood vessel or the space outside the lung
  • Reactions to medication or anesthesia
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
Major complications occur in less than 1 in 100 diagnostic laparoscopies. Loss of life in the United States from the procedure occurs in fewer than 5 out of 100,000 procedures. Therefore, this procedure is about six times safer than driving a car and about two to three times safer than being pregnant.
(Click Laparoscopy Complications for more information.)
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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