OSF Medical Group

Diagnostic Laparoscopy

A diagnostic laparoscopy may be performed to assess the systems of the abdomen for tumors and other lesions, injuries, intra-abdominal bleeding, infections, unexplained abdominal pain, obstructions, or other conditions, especially when another diagnostic procedure or test is inconclusive, such as physical examination, X-ray, or CT scan. Located in the abdomen are organs of the gastrointestinal, urinary, endocrine, and reproductive systems.

Laparoscopy utilizes a thin flexible tube containing a light and a video camera called a laparoscope.

The surgeon will make a small incision in the abdomen to place the laparoscope through, and it will produce images for the surgeon to see on a computer screen.

Laparoscopy allows the physician to see the organs and structures of the abdomen and perform biopsies or minor procedures, such as laparoscopic appendectomy or laparoscopic cholecystectomy, without major surgery.


The most prevalent symptom associated with appendicitis is sharp pain in the abdomen that seems to increase in severity over time. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal swelling.

Preparing for Your Laparoscopy

Our staff will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you might have prior to surgery. You may receive a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to ensure you are in good health for the procedure.

Please make sure to bring a complete list of all medications and herbal supplements you are currently taking with you to your appointment.

Please let our staff know if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Pregnant or suspect you are pregnant
  • Allergic to medications, latex, tape, or anesthetics
  • History of bleeding disorders or are taking a blood thinner, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting

What to Expect

The surgery is performed with the patient lying on their back while they are under general anesthesia. An anesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs including heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen levels during the surgery.

During laparoscopy, a small incision is made in the abdomen and a hollow needle is inserted. A gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide) slowly inflates the abdomen to give the surgeon a better view of the organs.

The physician will make more than one incision if other surgical instruments will be used during the procedure. Once the gas has inflated the abdomen, a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope is inserted through the opening to view the organs.

The physician may use other tools to take tissue samples, fix damage, or drain cysts in the abdomen. The laparoscope can have a laser attached to it to help with surgery.

Once the physician has completed the procedure, the instruments will be removed from the abdomen and the gas will be released. The incisions will be stitched and covered with a bandage.

Laparoscopy takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the reason for the procedure but can take longer if a condition is found and the physician decides to treat it.

After the laparoscopy, patients will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored for a few hours before being discharged.

Patients can usually resume normal activities the next day but should not do any strenuous activity or exercise for about a week.


You may spend approximately one hour or longer in the recovery room before you are taken back to your room either in the ambulatory care unit or on the medical/surgical Floor.

While in the recovery room, your surgeon usually meets with your family to let them know how you are doing and to answer any questions they may have. Your family will meet you in your room.

You must be alert, take fluids without vomiting, and urinate before discharge. Your nurse will give you written discharge instructions based on your surgeon's orders.

Do not drive or drink alcohol for 24 hours after your surgery. Patients cannot be discharged unaccompanied via taxicab or public transportation.

Please plan to have a competent caregiver available to stay with you and assist you the day and night of surgery.

At the time of discharge, your medications will be called into the pharmacy of your choice. If you have any questions or concerns during your stay, please ask your nurse.

Once you have been discharged, it is important to keep the incision clean and dry. Our staff will provide you with specific showering instructions.

Follow Up

Arrangements for a follow-up appointment with our staff will be made upon discharge.