Merck Manual

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Laparoscopy

By

Jonathan Gotfried

, MD,

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology
  • Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Jun 2019| Content last modified Jun 2019
Click here for the Professional Version

Laparoscopy is an examination of the abdominal cavity using a fiberoptic instrument inserted through the abdominal wall. This is a surgical procedure done in an operating room.

People are given drugs by vein (intravenously) to make them unconscious (general anesthesia) before the procedure.

After the appropriate area of the skin is washed with an antiseptic, a small incision is made, usually in the navel. Then a laparoscope is passed into the abdominal cavity, which is then inflated with gas to make it easier to see. A doctor can look for tumors or other abnormalities, examine nearly any organ in the abdominal cavity, take tissue samples, and even do surgery.

Complications of laparoscopy include bleeding, infection, and perforation.

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