Laparoscopy is a surgical technique in which a lighted viewing
instrument (laparoscope) is inserted into the lower abdomen through a small
incision, usually made below the navel. The abdomen is inflated with gas
injected through a needle, which pushes the wall of the abdomen away from the
organs so the doctor can see them more clearly.
Laparoscopy may be used for both diagnosis and treatment. Incisions
may be made so that other instruments, such as cutting devices or lasers, can
be inserted to treat certain problems. With laparoscopy, the doctor can
identify diseased organs, take tissue samples for biopsy, and remove abnormal
Laparoscopy may allow a person to avoid more invasive open surgery
that uses larger incisions. Compared to open surgery, it leaves smaller scars,
is often less risky, and usually requires a shorter recovery period.
Laparoscopy is often used to diagnose and treat problems in the
female reproductive organs, such as endometriosis, infertility, or tubal
pregnancy. Tubal ligation (female sterilization) can also be done with
Laparoscopy may be used for a variety of procedures in
both men and women, such as to remove the gallbladder.