Diagnostic laparoscopy is a procedure that allows a health care provider to look directly at the contents of a patient's abdomen or pelvis, including the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, small bowel, large bowel, appendix, liver and gallbladder. The procedure is performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical center under general anesthesia.

During the procedure, a surgeon makes a small cut near the belly button or navel. Carbon dioxide gas is used fill the abdominal cavity with air to move the abdominal wall and any organs out of the way, creating a larger space in which to work. This helps the surgeon see the area. A small video camera called a laparoscope is passed through the abdominal wall and is used to evaluate the inside of the pelvis and abdomen. Additional small incisions may be made if other instruments are needed to obtain a better view of certain organs. Laparoscopy is not only used to diagnose problems in the abdomen; many surgical treatments can be performed using laparoscopy with several small incisions in the abdomen.

Why Is Laparoscopy Performed?
Laparoscopy helps identify causes of pain in the abdomen and pelvic area. Laparoscopy may detect and surgically treat several conditions:

  • Appendicitis
  • Adhesive disease or scar tissue in the abdomen
  • Cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ovarian cysts

Other major procedures, such as hysterectomy, can sometimes be performed with laparoscopy. This leads to faster recovery times and a shorter hospital stay compared to an open abdominal incision.


Houston Methodist provides laparoscopy at the following convenient locations: