Pregnancy Home > Air Insufflation Injuries With Laparoscopic Surgery

Although rare, air insufflation injuries are possible with a laparoscopic surgery for ectopic pregnancy. If this complication occurs, it is often quickly detected and easily corrected. In some laparoscopic surgeries, however, the surgery may have to be stopped, or a potentially fatal complication, called a carbon dioxide embolus, may result if an air bubble goes into a major blood vessel.

Laparoscopic surgery requires carbon dioxide (the same air you breathe out) to be placed into the abdominal cavity so that the internal organs can be seen better. Some uncommon laparoscopic surgery complications can occur as a result of this.
 
One possible complication is air leaking into a different space in your abdomen (stomach). This can occur when the needle sending the air is not correctly placed into your abdominal cavity. When this occurs, gas may be accidentally pushed into the abdominal wall. Usually, misplacement of the needle is discovered quickly, and the needle can be moved to the correct spot. If massive amounts of air are inflated, however, the laparoscopy may have to be stopped.
 
If the needle is inadvertently placed into the bowel or another organ, the laparoscopy may also need to be interrupted and the injury repaired, if necessary. One extremely rare but potential risk involves the placement of air into a major blood vessel. This can result in carbon dioxide embolus, a potentially fatal complication where a bubble of gas travels into the heart and causes the system to collapse. This is an extremely rare occurrence.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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