Laparoscopic Surgery

We are the regional referral center for difficult laparoscopy.  Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure useful for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, endometriosis, fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes, ovarian cysts, and congenital abnormalities.  This operation allows a direct view of the uterus, tubes, ovaries, other organs and the pelvic cavity in general. Our specialists have received 3 years of additional training in laparoscopic surgery.

Conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic adhesions are detectable only through laparoscopy.  In addition to establishing a diagnosis, we offer endoscopic surgical treatment for many conditions.

Complicated endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, repair of fallopian tubes, removal of large ovarian cysts and fibroids should only be performed by highly skilled laparoscopic surgeons such as Doctors Williams and Smith.  Referring physicians send our specialists laparoscopic cases from all over the state of Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

Laparoscopy requires general anesthesia and can last from 45 minutes to many hours, depending on the conditions.  A small incision is made just below the navel and a special needle is inserted to inflate the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide gas.  The laparoscopic camera is introduced through that incision and another small incision is made in the lower midline of the abdomen for insertion of surgical forceps and instruments to aid in visualizing the pelvic organs.  If further laparoscopic surgery is required, additional small incisions may be made in the lateral aspects of the lower abdomen and a total of four incisions are sometimes required.  Involved laparoscopy may last several hours.

The risks of complications from laparoscopy are low.  As with any surgical procedure, there are serious risks including injury to the bowel, stomach, urinary bladder, ureters, abdominal and pelvic blood vessels, ovaries, or uterus.  Fortunately, the risk of serious complications is less than 1% especially if the laparoscopy is performed by a highly trained fertility surgeon.

Outpatient laparoscopy is performed at the Martha Jefferson Outpatient Surgery Center and/or Martha Jefferson Hospital, a Top 100 Hospital in the US.

After laparoscopy, patients are discharged with a prescription for pain medication.  Most people experience some significant pain following the laparoscopy for the first two days, then the discomfort is usually minimal and gone by 5-7 days. Nausea the evening of the procedure is a usual anesthetic side effect.

The first day following laparoscopy, patients can expect moderate abdominal and pelvic discomfort and some discomfort in the right shoulder or anterior chest. Often patients have shoulder pain related to the gas used to distend the abdominal cavity.  The chest and shoulder discomfort are due to irritation of the diaphragm which is the muscle used for breathing. Most patients experience mild vaginal bleeding for about 24-48 hours after the laparoscopy. Complete recovery to normal activity is expected within 5-7 days. Throughout recovery from the laparoscopy, patients should feel progressively stronger with lessening pain. Patients experiencing worsening symptoms should contact our office immediately.

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