What is Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy or Keyhole Surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery that diagnoses and treats conditions that relate to the abdomen. The reason for laparoscopies may vary between men and women since it can also diagnose and treat conditions found in the female reproductive system. If other tests and x-rays give results that are inconclusive to a diagnosis, laparoscopies can serve as an alternative.

Why is a Laparoscopy necessary?

Laparoscopies can be used to detect and treat certain types of cancer, such as abdominal cancer. During a laparoscopy, it's also common to take a tissue sample which will go for further testing, known as a biopsy. Conditions that require a laparoscopy vary between the abdomen and female reproductive system.

Abdominal symptoms that may require a laparoscopy:

  • Infections
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Tumours and other growths
  • Unexplained bleeding

Female reproductive system symptoms that may require a laparoscopy:

  • Adhesions
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cysts

If you're a woman and you're having difficulty with getting pregnant, laparoscopies can examine whether there are blockages in the fallopian tube or other factors that affect fertility.

What to expect from the procedure

When it comes to preparation, depending on the type of laparoscopy you're having, you may be required to not eat for six to twelve hours before your laparoscopy. If you're using any medication, such as blood-thinners, we may instruct you to stop taking them for the days leading up to your procedure.

Before your procedure, we’ll give you a general anaesthetic to make you unconscious for the surgery or you'll be given an injection into your abdomen to numb the area.

Once you're unconscious or your abdomen is numb, the we’ll l make a small incision below your belly button. A device known as a laparoscope is inserted into the incision. On the end of a laparoscope is a camera that will allow Dr Viljoen to see inside the abdomen. If it's necessary, a probe or other surgical instruments may be inserted through another incision to assist in the internal examination. During your procedure, Dr Viljoen will inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide or nitrous gas, which will make the viewing more comfortable. After making a diagnosis, and removing the surgical instruments, the incisions get sewn closed.


When you wake up after your procedure, you'll likely experience some abdominal pain, bloating, and pain in your shoulder, this results from the amount of pressure from the gas in your abdomen. The discomfort should improve over 24 to 48 hours. As with any surgery, there is a possibility that complications may arise after your procedure. If you experience any of the following, contact us immediately:

  • Increased pain in your shoulder
  • Bleeding, redness or swelling around the incision
  • Persistent nausea for more than 24 hours
  • Pain or discomfort when urinating