What Is a Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is one way that our fertility specialists at the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine (UCRM) can identify the cause of infertility. It is a minimally invasive procedure to examine your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Laparoscopic procedures are done under general anesthesia (you are put to sleep). The procedure lasts one to three hours.

In the operating room, your surgeon will make one or more small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen. They will put a camera with a light and small tools through the incision(s). Your surgeon will inflate your abdomen with gas to make it easier to see your uterus and other organs during the surgery. This will stretch your muscle fibers, which may cause you to feel sore for a few days after.

After the procedure, you will go to a recovery area until you wake up from the anesthesia. You will not need to stay in the hospital overnight since most laparoscopies are outpatient procedures. However, you will need a ride home from the hospital, since you cannot drive after anesthesia.

When Laparoscopy Is Used for Infertility

Laparoscopy for fertility treatment is generally used to: 

  • diagnose endometriosis,
  • biopsy (cut a small sample of tissue) inside the abdomen or pelvis,
  • check for and treat ovarian cysts,
  • check to make sure your fallopian tubes are not blocked,
  • diagnose the cause of pelvic pain, or
  • look for an abnormal uterus shape or other issues that could affect fertility.

Laparoscopy is just one of many tools that our specialists use to diagnose infertility. Our fertility specialists usually start with noninvasive testing and diagnostic procedures, such as an ultrasound or X-ray. If we cannot clearly see what is happening, we may recommend laparoscopy for a more accurate diagnosis.

Laparoscopy Recovery

Most people recover quickly from laparoscopic procedures. You will need to take between three days and one week off from work, depending on how you feel and how quickly you recover.

The small incisions (cuts) on the outside of your body will heal quickly, but it may take several days to a few weeks for the inside of your body to heal.

Restricted Activities

  • Do not lift anything over 10 to 20 pounds for four to six weeks.
  • You can return to running and other high-impact exercises within one week.
  • Do not place anything in your vagina, such as a tampon or have sexual intercourse, for two weeks.
  • Do not bathe for two weeks (showering is okay after 48 hours).
  • You will have small bandages or surgical glue that will stay on for seven to 10 days. Do not remove these, they will fall off on their own.

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How to Prepare for Your Laparoscopy

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking (prescription and non-prescription) and follow all instructions to stop or change your dosage.
  • If you smoke, stop smoking at least one day before surgery or sooner if you can.

Laparoscopy for Infertility Cost

Some insurance companies will cover laparoscopy procedures for infertility. UCRM has financial counselors who will review your insurance plan and coverage to find out what is covered.

If your insurance does not cover your laparoscopy or you do not have insurance, we will provide you with a breakdown of costs and available payment plan options.

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Side Effects & Risks of Laparoscopy Procedures

The main side effects after a laparoscopy procedure for infertility are:

  • mild to moderate pain,
  • tenderness in your abdominal wall around the incision(s), and
  • soreness in your abdominal muscles.

Laparoscopic surgery is generally safe, but it does come with risks that could affect fertility in the future. The procedure may cause injury or scarring to your fallopian tubes, uterus, or ovaries. These injuries could affect your ability to get pregnant. A fallopian tube blocked by scar tissue could also increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy (an embryo that implants inside your fallopian tube instead of the uterus), which may be dangerous.

There are also risks that come with any surgery, such as infection or bleeding. Call your doctor or go to an emergency room if you have:

  • fever,
  • chills,
  • weakness,
  • severe pain,
  • redness around the incision(s), or
  • pus coming out of the incision(s).

Schedule an Appointment With a Fertility Specialist

Most patients who come to see our fertility specialists for laparoscopy will need a referral from their primary care provider or an OB/GYN. Call 801-581-3834 or request an appointment online.

You can also contact us directly to schedule an appointment with a UCRM fertility specialist or if you have questions about fertility treatment or laparoscopy for infertility.