Laparoscopy is a surgery procedure that involves insertion of a narrow telescope-like instrument through a small incision in the belly button. This allows for visualization of the abdominal and pelvic organs, such as the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
An exploratory laparoscopy is used to determine whether there are any anatomic reproductive issues such as scar tissue (adhesions), endometriosis, fibroid tumors, or other abnormalities of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
If any abnormalities are discovered, they can often be corrected with operative laparoscopy. Operative laparoscopy involves placing instruments into the abdomen and pelvis through additional, small (5 mm) ports which are usually inserted just above the pubic bone. Sometimes a laser is used to perform surgery – often in cases when endometriosis is involved.
Not all patients need laparoscopy or are candidates for laparoscopy. The age of the patient and the cause of a couple’s infertility all factor into the decision of whether or not to proceed with laparoscopy prior to beginning infertility treatment.