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Pros & Cons of Laparoscopic Surgery for Infertility

Learn the pros and cons of having laparoscopic surgery to treat infertility in this Howcast video.


Many physicians recommend that patients undergo a laparoscopy for fertility purposes. There are conditions in which a laparoscopy makes sense. First, let me explain what laparoscopy is. Laparoscopy is a procedure, a small incision is made in the belly button in the operating room under anesthesia. Through that incision, a telescope with a camera attached is introduced into the pelvic cavity and into the abdominal cavity, and carbon dioxide gas is used to instaflate, or inflate, the abdominal cavity. This allows all the organs to be easily seen and manipulated. Special incisions, small incisions, are made in the lower abdomen to introduce other instruments that can be used to manipulate the uterus and ovaries and Fallopian tubes.

In cases in which there is a lot of scar tissue surrounding the Fallopian tubes, or cysts in the ovaries, or a condition called endometriosis, intervention can be done to remove those lesions, or to cut the scar tissue, or to manipulate things around to improve fertility. Laparoscopy is often prescribed for the treatment of infertility, but is not part of the standard procedure for infertility treatment. In fact, laparoscopy is being done less and less these days, due to the advent and development of better options that are less invasive and more likely to result in pregnancy.

There are real indications which laparoscopy is required; however, it is not required in all cases. Laparoscopy also has its negatives. It has risks, just like any other operative procedure. There's always the possibility of causing damage to bowel or blood vessels, or even to the bladder at times, and that can require more extensive surgery. And sometimes the risks may outweigh the benefits in these cases. Those are the risks and benefits of laparoscopy. It definitely has its role in infertility treatment, but should not be considered standard of care.

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