Diagnostic laparoscopy, or abdominal exploration, is a procedure that allows health care providers to look directly at the interior of a patient's abdomen or pelvis. A thin viewing tube (laparoscope) is inserted into the body through a small incision in the abdomen. This technique is used for a variety of investigative procedures, and is often recommended when non-invasive diagnostic tests, such as ultrasound and X-ray, cannot determine the cause of a condition.
The abdomen contains many of the body's vital organs. Diagnostic laparoscopy is particularly useful in determining the cause of a condition while causing a minimal amount of strain to the delicate internal systems.
Diagnostic laparoscopy has particular application with women's health issues, including determining the cause of pain in the pelvic region, examining a tissue mass, confirming endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease, looking for a blockage of the fallopian tubes or for other causes of infertility.
A provider may also use diagnostic laparoscopy after a patient is involved in an accident in order to rule out abdominal trauma because a more invasive abdominal incision could aggravate existing conditions.
Most generally healthy patients are considered candidates for diagnostic laparoscopy, as long as they are able to tolerate general anesthesia and have no serious cardiopulmonary diseases. By consulting with one of The Miriam Hospital's surgeons trained in diagnostic laparoscopy, you can determine whether or not this is the proper procedure for you.
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