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We've won 12 top industry awards since 2010 and regularly feature in the national and international press.

Industry Leading Consultants

We've invited only the very best consultants in the country to practice with us.

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All of our surgeons are registered with the General Medical Council.

Medically Reviewed October 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons

What is a Laparoscopy?

A laparoscopy is more commonly known as keyhole surgery. Laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure which allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen and pelvis without having to make large cuts through the skin. Instead only a small incision is needed, just big enough to allow a small tube with a light and camera into the body.

A laparoscopy is carried out under a general anaesthetic and is generally used to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the female reproductive organs, the urinary system or the digestive system.

At the Cadogan Clinic, we use laparoscopy surgery to investigate and treat common female conditions, such as ovarian cysts and fibroids. A laparoscopy can also be used to help diagnose certain types of cancer.

Because the procedure does not involve making large incisions, it means that diagnostic laparoscopy recovery time is much faster than open surgery and the risk of scarring and other complications is much lower. If you are having treatment during your laparoscopy, then your recovery time will vary from three to 12 weeks, depending on the type of surgery that you have.

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When is a Diagnostic Laparoscopy appropriate?

There are a number of gynaecological conditions which can be diagnosed through the use of laparoscopy.

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs which appear on the ovaries which develop as part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Usually these are harmless and you won’t even know they are there. However if they rupture, are very large or block the blood supply to the ovaries, then this can cause pain, urinary problems and digestive problems. Large ovarian cysts may lead to a condition called ovarian torsion, a rare complication which sees the ovary twist on the tissues that support it. It can cause sudden, intense pain and vomiting. If not treated promptly, it can cause the ovary to die. Ovarian torsion is a medical emergency.

This condition sees tissue usually found in the uterus lining growing elsewhere in the body, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Some women may not experience any noticeable symptoms, but in others endometriosis can cause debilitating pain, extremely heavy periods and affect fertility. A laparoscopy can be used to diagnose the condition and, in severe cases, remove the unwanted tissue.

An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. If the pregnancy progresses, this will cause the fallopian tube to rupture, which is life-threatening. Unfortunately an ectopic pregnancy cannot be saved.

Fibroids are noncancerous growths formed of muscle and fibrous tissue that develop on or inside the uterus. Two thirds of women with fibroids don’t experience any symptoms at all, but others may have heavy or painful periods, experience pain during sex, have abdomen or lower back pain or experience changes in their toilet habits. In rare cases the presence of fibroids may cause pregnancy complications or infertility.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a common bacterial infection of the female reproductive system that encompasses the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Not all women with PID will experience symptoms, but others will experience pain, heavy, painful or irregular periods and a yellow or green vaginal discharge which may have an unpleasant smell. A few may become very ill with a fever, vomiting and severe stomach pain.

Most of the time, PID is caused by a bacterial infection that has worked its way up from the vagina or cervix. This may come from a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or mycoplasma genitalium, but sometims PID can be caused by bacterial that normally lives in the vagina. PID is treated with a course of antibiotics.

Infertility is diagnosed if a couple have been trying to conceive for at least a year, without success. A laparoscopy can be used to help diagnose the cause of infertility so your doctor can then decide on the best course of treatment for your case.

This is a rare, but serious, condition which may affect the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. Sometimes a pelvic abscess is a side effect of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Women with certain medical conditions, including Crohn's disease and diabetes, may be more susceptible to pelvic abscess.

A pelvic abscess will need prompt treatment, involving the draining of the abscess followed by a course of antibiotics.

Ovarian cancer is often detected late, as many people do not experience any symptoms at all. A laparoscopy can be used to take a small tissue sample, known as a biopsy, to check for this particular type of cancer.

Who is suitable for a Laparoscopy?

You would be considered suitable for a laparoscopy if you are experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain or discomfort after or during sex
  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Irregular bleeding
  • An infection of the pelvic organs
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Unexplained infertility
  • A recent abdominal injury
  • You have recently undergone a physical exam, X-ray, or CT scan in the pelvic area but the results have proved inconclusive
  • A doctor suspects that you may have a specific gynaecological condition

The cost of a Laparoscopy

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What does the procedure involve?

A laparoscopy is performed under a general anaesthetic as a day case.

The surgeon will begin by making a small incision measuring around 1-1.5cm in your abdomen. This will usually be close to your belly button. A tube will be inserted into this opening and carbon dioxide gas will be pumped into your abdomen, lifting the wall of the abdomen to give the surgeon a clear view of your organs. The laparoscope, which has a light source and a camera, is then inserted through this tube. The pictures from the camera are displayed on a monitor so the surgeon can have a good view of what is going on inside your body.

Depending on what is discovered, a procedure may follow, using small surgical instruments inserted through the incisions, the surgeon guided by the view from the laparoscope.

Once the procedure is over, the carbon dioxide will be let out of the abdomen and the incisions closed using dissolvable stitches.

A diagnostic laparoscopy takes in the region of 30 to 60 minutes to complete. However if treatment is carried out at the same time, then this will take longer, depending on which laparoscopy surgery is being carried out.

How should I prepare for a Laparoscopy?

To prepare for a laparoscopy, you should:

  • Stop smoking. Your surgeon will recommend that you stop smoking six weeks before surgery and during the recovery period. You should avoid smoking for at least 48 hours before your surgery.
  • Avoid taking certain medications. You should avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements in the week ahead of your laparoscopy surgery.
  • Avoid alcohol. You should not drink any alcohol for 48 hours ahead of your surgery.
  • Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for a friend or family member to drive you home after you leave the hospital and stay with you for at least the first night of your recovery at home.
  • In the six hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid which will be allowed up to two hours before you are admitted to the clinic. Clear fluids include still water, black coffee and black tea.


We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.

The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us

We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journey

The Patient Journey

Frequently Asked Questions

This really depends on what the surgeon discovers during a diagnostic laparoscopy procedure. The surgeon may be able to make a diagnosis and recommend what treatment is required, for example a dose of antibiotics for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.  It might be the case that the surgeon has to carry out laparoscopy surgery, for example draining a pelvic abscess or a large ovarian cyst. If cancer is suspected, a tissue sample will be taken during the laparoscopy to be tested in a laboratory.

Laparoscopy is not painful as the procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic. This means that you will not be able to feel anything when the surgeon is doing the laparoscopy. After the procedure, you may find that your stomach is still bloated from the carbon dioxide gas. This gas may cause discomfort in the neck, shoulders and chest for one to three days following laparoscopy surgery. Walking, a warm shower or a heat pad may help to ease this discomfort until this excess air naturally leaves the body.

If you have surgery during your laparoscopy, you may need painkillers, depending on the type of procedure.

This varies and depends on whether laparoscopy surgery will be carried out at the same time as the procedure. If the laparoscopy was being carried out purely for diagnostic purposes, then you may find that you are able to return to work and your day-to-day activities within five days. If surgery is required, this recovery time may be anywhere from three weeks up to 12 weeks. Your surgeon will be able to advise you further on laparoscopy recovery times.

Yes, you can get a laparoscopy on the NHS. However the NHS has been, and continues to be, hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. High levels of staff sickness have had an impact on waiting times across the board. These waiting times vary from hospital to hospital. And any new waves of Covid-19 infections may result in this wait getting even longer. Because of this, many people choose to go to a private clinic for their laparoscopy. At the Cadogan Clinic, there is no waiting list, so you can have the procedure promptly.

A private laparoscopy in the UK costs upwards of £4,000 or £5,000. The final laparoscopy cost largely depends on whether surgery is required alongside a diagnosis and what each individual clinic includes in their treatment package.

If you choose the Cadogan Clinic for your laparoscopy in London, you will get:

  • Up to two 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea
  • Your laparoscopy at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence
  • 24/7 on-call nurse assistance
  • A Dedicated Patient Coordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan
  • A preoperative medical assessment
  • Comprehensive aftercare courtesy of our specialist team of nurses

Laparoscopy is a very safe procedure and keyhole surgery carries a lower risk of complications than open surgery. Around one or two people out of every 100 who have this procedure will experience minor complications, such as nausea, bruising, minor bleeding around the incision sites and infection. There is also the risk of a reaction to the anaesthetic.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your surgeon who will be happy to set your mind at rest.

What are the risks?

Complications are rare although, as with all surgery, possible. Your surgeon will discuss each of these risks comprehensively at your consultation. Read our FAQ section for more information.


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Aesthetics Awards

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My Face My Body

Best Clinic Winner

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body

Best Clinic Winner

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body


Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body

Highly Commended

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


Aesthetics Awards

Highly Commended

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


Aesthetics Awards


Laurel Wreath for Awards

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