Laparoscopy (Keyhole surgery)

What is it?

A laparoscopy involves the insertion of a narrow telescope into the abdominal cavity through the tummy button. Two or three further instruments may be inserted lower down in the bikini line (each incision is 5–10mm long). The procedure allows diagnosis and treatment of many pelvic conditions. The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic.

What are the advantages?

The keyhole approach avoids the need for large incisions and is usually performed as a day case or with just a short (24hr) stay in hospital. Women get home faster and return to work and normal activities more quickly than after open surgery.

What are the risks?

Whenever carrying out keyhole surgery there is always a small risk (<1% with diagnostic laparoscopies) that there will be a need to convert the operation into an open operation. This may be due to difficulty in visualising the area of concern because of previous scarring or because of a complication. The usual surgical risks of bleeding, infection and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are less than with open surgery, however no operation is risk-free.

There is a very small risk of damaging an important structure in the abdomen such as the bladder or bowel which may require an open operation to fix. There is a less significant, but more common risk of infection in the small scars. This risk is lessened if the stitches are removed approximately 5 days after the operation. This can be done at the hospital or by the local GP practice nurse.

How long will it take to recover?

Typically women will feel back to normal within a fortnight. Following a laparoscopic hysterectomy, although most people will be feeling almost back to normal with 3–4 weeks we still recommend avoiding strenuous exercise or lifting for approximately six weeks. 

Please contact Dr Peevor if you would like to discuss this in more detail.