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Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons
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.
Words from our clients:
"I was extremely satisfied with the care and treatment I received at the Cadogan Clinic. My surgeon was friendly and informative and explained the procedure fully. My procedure went very well and with the excellent care of the nursing staff, I made a speedy and full recovery. Would recommend to anyone."Eva Berry
"At the beginning before the operation the nurse taking care of me made me feel so comfortable. The surgeon and anesthetist helped me feel so calm. Fantastic before and after treatment"Scarlett Elliott
"The girls on the reception at the clinic were very pleasant and professional. The nurse who took out my stitches after my surgery was just lovely and took me through step by step what she was doing and she also recommended a great cream to use to help with healing."Georgina Nolan
“I was treated with care and provided with thorough knowledge about the procedure I was undertaking. My surgeon was very methodical (a perfectionist) and I felt I received A class treatment."Courtney O'Sullivan
"Outstanding experience from the first appointment to being discharged. Very professional, friendly and a fantastic outcome."Gemma Stevenson
"Reception staff very welcoming and efficient. Both nurses who I dealt with were fantastic, and the whole team (anaesthetist, surgeon etc) were friendly but professional, and really put my mind at ease. That I was able to stay later than I perhaps needed after my surgery to fit in with my husbands schedule was greatly appreciated."Emma Davies
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)
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.
You would be considered suitable for a laparoscopy if you are experiencing one or more of the following:
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.
To prepare for a laparoscopy, you should:
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 journeyThe Patient Journey
What results might I expect from a laparoscopy?
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.
Is a laparoscopy painful?
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.
What is the recovery time following laparoscopy?
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.
Can I get a laparoscopy on the NHS?
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.
How much does a private laparoscopy cost?
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:
What are the risks associated with laparoscopy?
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.
Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.About Us
Best in Class Facilities
All of our treatments take place at our beautiful boutique premises in Chelsea. We have six consulting rooms and five operating rooms, as well as a dedicated pre and post-operative suite, and a full team of specialist nursing staff.Our Clinic
A Strong Tradition of Innovation
We were founded in 2004 by world renown plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, best known for his pioneering work in the area of liposuction, lasers and microvascular surgery. We continue to collaborate with pioneers in our field.Our History
At Home in Sloane Street, London
We are proud that our state of the art award-winning clinic is located in one of the best neighbourhoods in the countryWelcome to Sloane Street
We offer surgical consultations in London, Birmingham, Chelmsford and Bristol, and attract international patients from all corners of the globe such as as the USA, the Middle East and Europe.Get in Touch
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.
We believe in the delivery of excellent outcomes and results, and exceptional levels of service. Our outcomes are natural and long-lasting, and we remain the premier choice for cosmetic surgery treatments in the UK.
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