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How Long Does an Exploratory Laparoscopy Take?

What is diagnostic laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.

Diagnostic laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that evaluates the causes of pain, bleeding, lumps, or diseases in the abdomen. Diagnostic laparoscopy is also called exploratory laparoscopy. 

This procedure is done under local anesthesia. During the procedure, a few small incisions are made, a cannula (a narrow tube-like instrument) is placed into the abdominal cavity in the upper abdomen or flank just below the ribs. 

A laparoscope (a tiny telescope) connected to a special camera is inserted through the cannula. This gives the surgeon a magnified view of the patient’s internal organs on a screen. Other cannulas are inserted, allowing the surgeon to see the internal organs and decide on the proper diagnosis or treatment. 

After the procedure, the surgeon closes the small incisions with absorbable sutures or surgical tape.

Why is exploratory laparoscopy performed?

Exploratory laparoscopy is usually performed for following diagnostic purposes:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal mass
  • Abdominal infection
  • Fluid in abdomen (ascites)
  • Injury to the abdominal organs
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer staging

How long does an exploratory laparoscopy take?

When laparoscopy is used to diagnose a condition, the procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. It can take longer depending on the condition being treated or the type of surgery being carried out.

What are the common complications of exploratory laparoscopy?

Any procedure may have complications associated with it. The most frequent complications include: 

  • Pain
  • Bleeding 
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia risk (headache and dizziness)
  • Injury to the abdominal organs, intestines, urinary bladder, or blood vessels
  • Leak from one of the operative sites

In some patients, the laparoscopic method cannot be performed. The decision to go for an open procedure may be made by the surgeon either before or during the actual operation.

When the surgeon feels that converting the laparoscopic procedure to an open one is a better option, it’s strictly based on patient safety.

How long does it take to recover from exploratory laparoscopy?

Recovery time from the laparoscopic procedure is different for everybody. It depends on factors such as 

  • the reason the procedure was carried out (whether it was used to diagnose or treat a condition),
  • the patient’s general health condition, and 
  • potential complications for the patient. 

If a laparoscopy procedure was done to diagnose a condition, the patient can probably resume normal activities within five days. The recovery period after laparoscopy to treat a condition varies.

What are the advantages of exploratory laparoscopy?

Diagnostic laparoscopy is useful for making a definitive clinical diagnosis in cases of doubtful diagnosis. Below are some common advantages of exploratory laparoscopy:

  • Reduced risks
  • Decreased postoperative pain
  • Shorter hospital stay

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Medically Reviewed on 7/8/2020

References

Medscape Medical Reference

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