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Diagnostic laparoscopy and dye test

Keyhole surgery to find out why you may be having difficulty getting pregnant

A laparoscopy and dye test is a surgical procedure used to investigate fertility problems. A flexible camera called a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision (cut) in your abdomen. Images from the camera are transmitted to a monitor allowing your surgeon to look for any problems that could be stopping you from getting pregnant.

During the procedure, blue dye is injected into your cervix (the opening of the womb) to check that your fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry an egg to your womb) are not blocked.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss a private laparoscopy and dye test with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

Why do I need a laparoscopy and dye test?

A laparoscopy and dye test is a procedure that is used to diagnose and in some cases treat gynaecological conditions that may be making it difficult for you to conceive (get pregnant).

Your consultant may recommend a laparoscopy and dye test if you have been trying to conceive for a year without success.

A laparoscopy and dye test can help diagnose several gynaecological conditions that may affect your chances of getting pregnant including:

Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes

This may be due to pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, previous gynaecological surgery, ectopic pregnancy, or tubal ligation (sterilisation)


A chronic condition where tissue similar to the endometrium (womb lining) grows outside the womb.


Non-cancerous growths in the womb.

Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are harmless, fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

This is usually caused by a previous sexually transmitted infection (STI).


These are caused by a build-up of scar tissue from a previous surgery.

A laparoscopy and dye test is considered the gold standard in diagnosing a range of gynaecological conditions that can cause infertility. It is a minimally-invasive procedure with a quick recovery time and a low risk of complications. In some cases, your consultant can treat problems during the same procedure without the need for further surgery.

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant gynaecologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the female reproductive system. If you have had any previous treatment for infertility including tests or scans, please take them with you to your appointment.

Your consultant will ask you some questions about your general health and reproductive history. They may ask you about:

  • Your age
  • Your weight
  • Whether you smoke, drink alcohol, or use recreational drugs
  • Any previous pregnancies or miscarriages
  • Your menstrual cycle
  • How long you have been trying to get pregnant
  • How often you have unprotected sexual intercourse
  • What method of birth control you were using previously, and when you stopped using it
  • Whether you have ever had a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Any chronic (long-term) health conditions
  • Any previous surgeries
  • Any medications you take regularly

Your consultant may look at any tests or scans you've had previously or arrange for them to be done on the day. These may include a blood test, ultrasound, or an X-ray of your womb called a hysterosalpingogram.

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. We want you to be as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your surgery, so please feel free to ask any questions or discuss any concerns.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your procedure. If you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice.

It's very important that you are not pregnant when you have this procedure. If there is any chance you could be pregnant, tell your consultant before your surgery.

You will not be able to have your laparoscopy and dye test if you are menstruating. If you are due to have your period, or your period starts on the day your test is scheduled, call the hospital to reschedule your procedure.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have, and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You will probably feel quite tired and sore for a few days after your procedure. Make arrangements for help with childcare, shopping, or housework before your operation so that you are able to rest after your surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

On the day of your procedure:

  • Bring an overnight bag with toiletries and sanitary towels in case you need to stay in hospital
  • Remove any jewellery, piercings, or nail varnish
  • Leave all your valuables at home
  • Take a bath or shower on the morning of your surgery

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in good health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

A laparoscopy and dye test is normally performed under general anaesthetic which means you'll be asleep for the procedure. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your consultant will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen.

Your abdomen is pumped full of carbon dioxide gas. This expands your abdomen and allows your consultant to see your organs more clearly.

A flexible tube called a laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions. The laparoscope has a small camera with a light. It transmits images to a monitor for your consultant to view.

Your consultant will examine your womb, fallopian tubes and surrounding structures and look for any abnormalities. A blue dye is injected through your cervix into your womb and fallopian tubes to check for any blockages.

Your consultant may pass surgical instruments through one of the incisions and perform surgery on your womb, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. When the procedure is complete, the incisions are closed using surgical glue or dissolvable stitches.

A laparoscopy and dye test normally takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be monitored closely until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off. You will then be taken to your room.

Will I have pain after my surgery?

You may have some pain around your incision sites for a few days after your surgery. Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you need to.

Your lower abdomen may be bruised after the procedure and your abdomen will be swollen and distended. You may also have some discomfort in your shoulders, upper chest, and the back of your neck. This is due to the gas that was pumped into your abdomen during the procedure and will subside in a few days.

Will I bleed after surgery?

It's normal to have some vaginal bleeding for up to seven days after your surgery. Only use sanitary towels, because using tampons can increase the risk of infection. Contact your healthcare provider if your bleeding is heavy, last longer than a week or has an unpleasant smell.

You may have a blue discharge from your vagina for a few days after your surgery. This is caused by the blue dye that was used during your procedure and is nothing to worry about.

What should I avoid after surgery?

You should not have sexual intercourse for at least two weeks after your operation and only after any vaginal bleeding has stopped, even if this is longer than two weeks.

Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least six weeks after your surgery.

How do I care for my wound after surgery?

Your incision wounds will be closed with either dissolvable stitches or surgical glue. Neither of these needs to be removed, but your consultant may arrange a follow-up appointment after around five days to check they are healing properly.

Your incision sites may ooze for the first day or two. You will normally have a sterile dressing in place for the first twenty-four hours after which it can be removed. Your wounds should be kept clean and dry. Always wash your hands before and after any contact with your wounds.

After twenty-four hours you can take a shower, but make sure you dry your incision sites properly afterwards by patting them dry with a clean towel. Contact your healthcare provider if your wounds become red, sore, swollen or have an unpleasant smell.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

A laparoscopy dye test is usually done as a day case, meaning you'll be able to go home later the same day. In some cases, such as if you have a chronic health condition, if you take longer than usual to recover from the anaesthetic, or if you have significant pain, you may need to spend one night in hospital.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital after your laparoscopy dye test. This is due to the general anaesthetic which can slow your reaction times and make driving unsafe for around forty-eight hours. Please make arrangements for someone to come and collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

You should rest as much as possible for at least the first day or two after your procedure. If your job is sedentary such as office work, you may be able to return after around a week. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to return to work after your surgery.

How soon can I drive?

You can drive when you are able to perform an emergency stop comfortably. You should not drive for the first two to three days after your surgery due to the general anaesthetic. Inform your insurance company before driving after your procedure.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovery from a laparoscopy dye test is different for everyone. You can gradually increase your activity level after the first few days but stop if you are tired or experience any pain. Most people are fully recovered by two weeks after their laparoscopy dye test.

A laparoscopy and dye test is a generally safe and minimally invasive procedure, but as with all types of surgery, there is a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you may have about your procedure.

Please ask as many questions as you need to understand all the possible risks and complications of the procedure. This will help put your mind at rest and help you to make an informed decision.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications specific to laparoscopy and dye test include:

  • Damage to the nearby organs such as the bowel or bladder
  • Damage to the blood vessels
  • Incisional hernia - where abdominal tissue pushes through the incision site
  • Surgical (subcutaneous) emphysema - where gas gets trapped in the subcutaneous tissue (the deepest layer of skin)
  • Damage to your womb or cervix (the opening of the womb)
  • The procedure may be unsuccessful in diagnosing the problem

An alternative procedure to check whether your fallopian tubes are blocked is a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). During this procedure, a tube is inserted into the vagina and cervix and a dye is injected into the womb. X-rays are then taken to see whether the fallopian tubes are blocked.

An advantage of this procedure is that it does not require a general anaesthetic. The disadvantage is that it doesn't diagnose other conditions that could be causing your infertility.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about laparoscopy and dye test, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Laparoscopy and Chromotubation (Dye test),  East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
  2. Select and treat at laparoscopy and dye test improves the spontaneous pregnancy, PubMed
  3. Laparoscopy and dye test, Health Direct
  4. Laparoscopy and Dye, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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