Laparoscopy for Infertility Treatment

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A disheartened woman with a pregnancy test stick

If you have been trying to get pregnant for some time and not getting any success, then it is quite likely that you may have some fertility problems. The good news is that there are many options available to treat infertility and laparoscopy is one such method that may improve your chances of getting pregnant.

What is Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is an invasive method that is used to diagnose and even treat the problem of infertility. In this surgical procedure, your doctor may make two to three incisions in your abdominal region. A laparoscope is used for this process, which is a very thin surgical instrument that has camera and light fitted on it. This procedure helps the doctor to identify and correct the problem. In some cases, the doctor may even make bigger incisions for the surgery, and you may have to stay in the hospital for a few days.

When is a Laparoscopy Procedure Recommended?

A young couple at the doctor's clinic

Laparoscopy is not the first resort to treat the problem of infertility. Your doctor may recommend this treatment option after trying various other methods or suggesting other infertility options. Here are some of the reasons when your doctor may advise you to go for diagnostic laparoscopy for infertility:

  • If your doctor establishes an ectopic pregnancy, which is a fatal condition.
  • If your doctor suspects pelvic adhesions or Pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • If your doctor diagnoses moderate or severe endometriosis.
  • If you feel or experience pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  • If you experience severe pain and cramps during your menstrual cycle.

In many cases, your doctor may treat the problem during the laparoscopic procedure (though not in all the cases). Following are some infertility issues for which your doctor may recommend laparoscopic surgery:

  • If you have PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, in such a case your doctor may recommend ovarian drilling. Polycystic ovarian syndrome hampers with ovulation and to correct this; your doctor may puncture the ovaries at various places for drilling.
  • If you have a fibroid that causes intense pain or blocking the fallopian tubes and even affecting the uterine cavity.
  • If you have ovarian cysts that are blocking the fallopian tubes and causing severe pain. In some cases, your doctor may even guide you for an ultrasound-guided needle for draining the cyst. However, removal or drainage of large endometrial cysts may affect your ovarian reserves.
  • In case endometrial deposits are the cause of infertility, then your doctor may recommend removing them. Where some doctors are of the view, that removal of deposits improves your chances of conception; others feel it should be removed only if they are causing intense pain and discomfort.
  • Your doctor may recommend this surgical option if your fallopian tubes are blocked. However, laparoscopy for infertility success rate varies to a great extent when we talk about tubal repair. If you may have to go for IVF after this surgery, then it is better that you skip this procedure and go for IVF.
  • In case your doctor suspects Hydrosalpinx, a condition where the fallopian tube gets blocked (specific kind of blockage); your doctor may recommend removing the tube.

What are the Benefits of Laparoscopy for Infertility

Here are some of the benefits of laparoscopy for infertility:

  • Certain infertility defects can only be established through laparoscopy only.
  • It helps the doctor to have a comprehensive and detailed look inside your abdominal region to identify various infertility issues.
  • It is also effective in treating some causes of fertility, which may increase your chances of getting by natural means or by other infertility treatment options.
  • It helps in getting rid of pelvic pain and discomfort.
  • It also helps in removing endometrial deposits, scar tissue and fibroids.
  • This surgical method is less invasive in comparison to open surgery, which means lesser pain, low blood loss, smaller incisions and faster recovery.

How is Laparoscopy Performed?

Once your doctor recommends laparoscopy for you, you will be told about the procedure in detail. You may have to prepare for the surgery in advance. Your doctor may admit you to the hospital, or you may be told to report to the hospital for the procedure. You will be told not to eat for at least 8 to 10 hours before the surgery. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. Before the procedure begins, an IV will be put, and various medicines will get administered through it.

Once you come under the effect of anaesthesia, your doctor will begin with the procedure. Several small incisions will be made in your abdominal region. After the incisions are made, the incisions with the carbon dioxide gas to create space for the insertion of the surgical instrument and to see the organs clearly. As soon as the gas gets filled, the doctor will insert the laparoscope to see inside your pelvic organs. In some cases, your doctor may extract tissue for biopsy. Apart from the pelvic organs, your doctor may want to check other abdominal organs also and may make few more incisions for the same. Your doctor will carefully look for scar tissue, cysts, fibroids or endometrial deposits. Your reproductive organs will be observed internally to detect abnormalities or defects.

Your doctor may inject some dye from the cervix to check out any kind of blockage in the fallopian tubes. Your fallopian tubes may be examined to rule out the probability of ectopic pregnancy.

Is the Procedure Painful?

The laparoscopic procedure is performed under the effect of general anaesthesia, which means you will not feel anything during the entire procedure. However, once the effect of anaesthesia subsides after the surgical procedure is over, you may feel sore at the site of the incision. In case your doctor removes tissue for biopsy, then your stomach may feel tender too. Because of the carbon dioxide in your abdominal region, you may feel bloated and may experience pain around your shoulders. Your throat may pain too, due to the tube that was inserted into your throat for breathing during the procedure. These are very common things that you may experience after the surgery and may subside with a few days.

Recovery Time of laparoscopy Surgery for Infertility

You may get discharged the same day if there are no complications involved. Your doctor will recommend you to take rest for at least two to three days. However, you may take a couple of weeks to recover completely, in case some repairs were made too. You will be given various medicines for a speedy recovery, which may include anti-biotic and painkillers as well. Get immediate medical help if you experience:

  • Pus or intense pain at the site of the incision.
  • Fever, which is 101 or higher.
  • Severe abdominal pain and discomfort.

Risks and Side Effects of Laparoscopy for Infertility

Just like any surgical procedure, there are some risks and side-effects associated with laparoscopy too. It is seen that out of hundred, on an average one or two woman may develop one or the other kind of complications after laparoscopy. Here are some commonly experienced surgery complications:

  • Irritation of skin at the incision site.
  • Bladder infection
  • Adhesions
  • Infection at the site of infection.
  • The occurrence of hematomas in the abdominal walls

There are some lesser-known complications are that may arise after the surgical procedure, such as:

  • Severe allergic reaction.
  • The occurrence of blood clots.
  • Severe damage to the blood vessels or abdominal organs.
  • Urine retention
  • Damage to the nerves.
  • Complications associated with general anaesthesia.
  • Death (though very rare, but may occur)

What Do the Results of Laparoscopy Mean?

In case a tissue is extracted during laparoscopy, it will be given for further tests. The tests results could be normal or abnormal. The normal test results indicate an intestinal blockage, hernia, abdominal bleeding. This may also mean that all your internal organs are in a healthy state.

What If The Results Are Abnormal?

Sometimes the test results may be indicative of some abnormalities. Here are some kinds of abnormalities that may be seen during the laparoscopic procedure:

  • Detection of fibroids
  • There may be adhesions or surgical scars.
  • A hernia
  • There may be inflammation of the intestines or appendicitis
  • There may be a presence of tumours or cysts.
  • There may be some trauma or injury to a particular internal organ.
  • There may be inflammation of gallbladder or cholecystitis.
  • There may be an abnormal condition where the uterine lining grows outside the uterus inside of growing inside, also known as endometriosis.
  • There may be an infection of reproductive organs or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Cancer

FAQ

You may have various concerns regarding undergoing laparoscopic surgery, here we shall discuss some frequently asked question regarding laparoscopy test for infertility.

Can Laparoscopy Affect My Ability to Conceive

If you are wondering if laparoscopy in female infertility may adversely affect your ability to conceive? The good news is laparoscopy rarely fiddles with your ability to conceive and usually causes no hindrance in getting pregnant. Rather in some cases, it may even increase your chances of conception.

Laparoscopy or laparoscopy endometriosis infertility treatment is a very safe option. Once the procedure is over, your doctor will discuss your chances of getting pregnant and other associated complications. You may try to get pregnant after the laparoscopic and other procedures are over.

Also Read: Common Causes for Not Conceiving

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