Laparoscopy for an Ectopic Pregnancy
If your healthcare provider suspects you have an ectopic pregnancy, laparoscopy may be recommended to diagnose and possibly treat this condition. With an ectopic pregnancy, the egg is implanted somewhere other than the uterus. While not without some risk, a laparoscopy for an ectopic pregnancy is often a safer, less invasive procedure than open abdominal surgery.
Laparoscopy is a tool used for diagnosing and treating several different conditions by actually looking inside the body with a specialized camera. There are a number of different types of laparoscopic procedures, such as:
- Laparoscopic appendectomy (removal of the appendix)
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder)
- Laparoscopic gastric bypass.
This article will discuss laparoscopy for an ectopic pregnancy, which is a procedure used to look inside a women's abdomen (stomach) to help diagnose and treat a possible ectopic pregnancy.
Laparoscopy offers many advantages over traditional surgery. With laparoscopy, people usually have shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times because it is a simpler, less invasive procedure.
Normally a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. But if the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, the pregnancy is said to be "ectopic," which means located in an abnormal position.
When an ectopic pregnancy occurs, the fertilized egg usually implants in one of the fallopian tubes. Because the fallopian tube is narrow and its walls are thin, the pregnancy only has to be about the size of a jellybean before the fallopian tube bursts, causing major bleeding.
Occasionally, the fertilized egg may implant on an ovary, in the abdominal cavity, or in the cervix.
Ectopic pregnancies are rare; they occur in about 1 out of every 60 pregnancies. Certain risk factors make an ectopic pregnancy more likely.
These ectopic pregnancy risks include:
- A history of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
- A previous ectopic pregnancy
- A previous tubal surgery for infertility.
Treatment of an ectopic pregnancy, either medically or surgically, is necessary to prevent serious, even life-threatening complications.