Diagnostic laparoscopy may routinely be done while undergoing an infertility evaluation to make sure that the ovaries, fallopian tubes and outside of the uterus appear normal. For example, a common condition called “endometriosis” where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus is found on the surface of the pelvis, or on the ovaries is often diagnosed and treated via laparoscopy. Scar tissue or “adhesions” may also be identified and treated. Diagnostic laparoscopy may also be done to evaluate causes of irregular or very heavy menstrual cycles and some types of pelvic pain. For most laparoscopies, general anesthesia is used.


Depending on your case, it may be necessary to schedule the surgery either during the early part of your cycle (soon after the period) or while you are temporarily put on the birth control pill. This procedure is usually performed as a same-day surgery, where you will come in the morning and be released in the afternoon. You will NOT be able to drive yourself home so you will have to have someone else with you. You will need to plan for at least 2-3 days with no strenuous physical activity following the surgery

Preparing for a Diagnostic Laparoscopy

You will have a pre-operative appointment where your physician will review why the laparoscopy is being done, what he/she expects to find, and what he/she plans to do. Your doctor will also review the risk of complications and let you know how much time you should plan on for recovery and ask you to sign consent forms.

The day before the surgery you will be asked to fast from about midnight on. The procedure usually lasts about 1 hour if no abnormalities are found and longer if adhesions or endometriosis need to be treated. After the surgery your doctor will review the findings with your family or support person if you wish.

The Procedure

The procedure is usually takes about 1-2 hours if no abnormalities are found. Of course, should scar tissue, endometriosis, etc need to be treated, this could add several hours to the length of the procedure.

What to Expect Afterwards

For up to 7 days after surgery it is normal to have moderate cramping and vaginal bleeding, as well as abdominal soreness and “gas-type” pains that can radiate to the shoulders. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication for you. You can usually return to work in 3-4 days otherwise directed by your physician. Intercourse can usually be resumed 7 days after the procedure. Your doctor will want to see you in the office 1-3 weeks after the procedure to make sure your incisions are healing properly and to review the surgical findings with you as well as the plan for follow-up treatment.