Patient Information

Diagnostic Laparoscopy for Abdominal Pain

A Diagnostic Laparoscopy is a basically an investigative procedure whereby a telescope is inserted into the abdominal cavity to examine the internal organs under direct vision. By manipulating the bowel with a pair of instruments, we can inspect the entire abdominal and pelvic cavity. We can also obtain specimens for pathological or bacteriological testing. If required, we can also perform a Laparoscopic Ultrasound using a probe fitted with an ultrasound sensor at the tip. Organs such as the liver, pancreas, kidney and adrenal gland can be evaluated with great accuracy. Depending on what is found, we can also proceed directly to treat the problem.

The commonest reason for performing Diagnostic Laparoscopy is abdominal pain. This can be acute (arising within the last few days) or chronic (lasting weeks to months).

Acute abdominal pain may be due to a variety of causes. The cause can usually be found easily by a careful clinical evaluation together with blood tests, X-rays and some form of radiological imaging such as an ultrasound or CT scan. Sometimes the diagnosis is still in doubt despite doing all we can. For example, the pain due to acute appendicitis and a ruptured ovarian cyst may be identical. In such cases, instead of prolonged observation (which may be dangerous to the patient) or making a large incision to explore, we can perform the Diagnostic Laparoscopy using a 1 cm incision to insert the telescope. If an inflamed appendix is found we can treat this straightaway by doing a Laparoscopic Appendicectomy. Likewise, ovarian and other pelvic problems can also be treated laparoscopically.

Chronic abdominal pain can also be due to a variety of causes. It can sometimes be a diagnostic challenge as no cause may be found despite performing multiple tests. There is then a definite role for Diagnostic Laparoscopy to evaluate this. We can often find the cause and can treat this straightway if this is possible.

By inserting a small telescope that can inspect the entire abdominal cavity we can avoid performing exploratory surgery through a long incision. Post op recovery is rapid and wound pain is minimal. Depending on what additional procedures need to be performed, the operation can be done as Day Surgery without the need for overnight admission. Most importantly, we can solve the problem of your abdominal pain without further delay.

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