Laparoscopy is a technique for surgery that can be used on the female reproductive tract. It uses a special tool called a laparoscope (scope). The scope is a thin, lighted tube with a camera on the end. The surgery is done through a few small incisions in the abdomen. The scope is put through 1 of the incisions. It sends pictures from the inside the body to a video screen.
Laparoscopy helps diagnose and treat problems in the reproductive organs. It can help find the cause of symptoms, such as pain or bleeding. It can also help find reasons for trouble getting pregnant. In many cases, the problem can be treated during the same procedure. Laparoscopy may be done to find and/or treat:
Tubal pregnancy. This occurs when an embryo implants in a fallopian tube. Untreated, the tube can rupture and bleed.
A fibroid (lump of uterine muscle tissue). This can cause pain and bleeding. These can also be diagnosed with ultrasound.
A blocked or damaged fallopian tube. This can cause trouble getting pregnant.
Endometriosis (growth of uterine tissue outside the uterus). This can cause pain, bleeding, and trouble getting pregnant.
Adhesions (scar tissue). These can cause pain and trouble getting pregnant.
An ovarian cyst (fluid-filled sac) or tumor (abnormal growth). Either can cause pain and other health problems.
Pelvic organ prolapse. This is when the female organs drop into or out of the vagina.
Incontinence. This is when urine leaks involuntarily.
Laparoscopy can also be used for other reproductive organ surgeries. For instance, it may be used for tubal ligation. This is blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy. Or it may be used to help remove the uterus. This is called a hysterectomy.