Infertility is a complex issue, encompassing medical, psychological, and financial challenges for those struggling to conceive. Despite advancements in IVF and assisted reproductive technology (ART) over the past 30 years, laparoscopy remains valuable in infertility evaluation. While IVF and ART have improved conception chances, adding laparoscopy can provide insights into unaddressed underlying issues. Women who face difficulties in conceiving often opt for infertility treatments, and one such method is laparoscopy, which can enhance the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy, often referred to as “keyhole surgery,” is a form of minimally invasive surgical procedure. It is a surgical procedure that enables a physician to visualize the internal organs.
When utilized for fertility evaluation, the doctor examines the reproductive system’s components, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Moreover, this procedure can also involve surgical intervention during diagnosis and has been instrumental in detecting and addressing pelvic irregularities in females.
Uses of laparoscopy
Laparoscopy is used for diagnosing fertility-related conditions such as
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Scar tissue buildups
- Fibroids and
- Other abnormalities in the reproductive system
Laparoscopy is useful when deciding whether to use assisted reproductive technology, especially when infertility has been present for a long time and in elderly women.
Although there are alternative diagnostic methods for identifying fibroids and endometriosis, only laparoscopy provides a definitive way to confirm the presence of these abnormalities. Mild endometriosis and scarring in the uterus can be accurately diagnosed exclusively through laparoscopy by doctors.
Laparoscopic surgery, which involves the removal of pelvic adhesions and endometrial tissue, improves the chances of natural conception.
It is also beneficial in cases of unexplained infertility, where standard tests yield normal results but conception is still difficult. Through visual examination of the reproductive organs, laparoscopy helps identify hidden factors that could impede conception.
Compared to other surgical techniques used for diagnosing infertility causes, laparoscopy offers:
- Less invasive approach
- Lower risk of infection
- Smaller scars
- Potential for on-the-spot issue correction during the procedure
- Faster and easier recovery
Some women who have undergone a laparoscopy to remove fibroids or endometriotic lesions, treat a hydrosalpinx, or unblock a fallopian tube actually improve their chances of becoming pregnant as a result of the procedure.
In what situations is Laparoscopy advised?
When other fertility tests fail to provide a definitive diagnosis, medical professionals typically consider laparoscopy. As a result, they commonly perform this procedure on women who are experiencing unexplained infertility.
Furthermore, doctors may recommend it for women who are experiencing pelvic pain, which could potentially indicate the presence of endometriosis.
Additionally, laparoscopy can effectively remove scar tissue that might cause pelvic or abdominal pain.
Medical professionals suggest laparoscopic surgery for infertility in the following cases of reproductive challenges:
- PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Fibroids obstructing the fallopian tubes
- Ovarian cysts
- Endometrial deposits leading to severe pain
Adverse Effects of Surgery
- Skin irritation around the incision area
- Urinary tract infections
- Formation of adhesions
- Infection at the surgical site
- Development of hematomas in the abdominal walls
The patient gets discharged the same day because it is outpatient treatment. A hospital stay of two to three days can be recommended if there are any difficulties. To fully recover from a laparoscopic procedure, a few weeks are required. To help in a quick recovery and reduced discomfort, the right medication will be prescribed.
How is laparoscopy performed?
Medical professionals typically perform laparoscopy on patients under general anesthesia. Depending on the specific procedure, they often carry it out as an outpatient surgery, allowing patients to go home after spending a few hours in the recovery room. In certain cases, an overnight hospital stay might be necessary.
During the laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen through which a laparoscope is inserted. The surgeon uses a thin, illuminated fiber-optic tube known as a laparoscope, which is equipped with a camera, to view the internal abdominal area.
In certain cases, the surgeon may also insert microsurgical instruments through either the same incision or a second one. To improve visibility and create working space, the abdomen is gently inflated with gas. This clear view of the reproductive organs enables the diagnosis and surgical repair of any issues.
Does Laparoscopic Surgery impact the likelihood of getting pregnant?
A common concern among women is whether laparoscopic surgery will affect their chances of conceiving. However, in most cases, laparoscopy does not interfere with one’s ability to get pregnant and typically does not hinder conception. In fact, it may even enhance the chances of conception for the patient.
How does the field of fertility utilize laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy actively addresses fertility problems caused by physical issues in a woman’s pelvis and reproductive tract, a condition referred to as “pelvic factor infertility.”
This can arise from diverse factors, including scar tissue due to infections, injuries, or surgery, as well as conditions like endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine polyps, or fibroids—all of which affect reproductive function.
As a valuable diagnostic tool, laparoscopy can identify problems not visible on ultrasounds, and doctors can sometimes perform immediate treatment or repairs during the procedure.
How soon after a laparoscopy can you try to get pregnant?
After a surgical laparoscopy, it is advisable to wait between three and six months to enable the sutures to heal.
If you’re experiencing difficulties with conception, consider laparoscopy as a reliable and safe method to enhance your chances of becoming a parent. Avoiding misdiagnoses that may lead to unnecessary treatments for non-existent conditions can help alleviate frustration and stress. Consult your doctor or reach out to 9M Fertility for expert guidance in identifying the root cause and exploring available options.