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Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) for gynaecological conditions

A laparoscopy is a procedure to look inside your tummy to diagnose and treat a number of problems including endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and ovarian cysts.

Doctor pointing at a model of a uterus to explain how a laparoscopy will help diagnose a patient's gynaecological condition
A diagnostic laparoscopy is an operation to look inside your tummy and pelvic area. It is performed using a small telescope (called a laparoscope), which is a thin tube with a light and camera attached to the end of it. This camera is connected to a video monitor, which displays images of the inside of your tummy and pelvis, allowing your consultant to see what is happening without having to 'open up' your abdomen.

A laparoscopy can be used both to diagnose and to treat a range of conditions that affect your abdomen and pelvic area. These include gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease. If you have or are showing signs of any of these gynaecological problems, a diagnostic laparoscopy is a common way to diagnose them. It is usually performed by a consultant gynaecologist, who might also be referred to as a gynaecological surgeon. 

If you are having a diagnostic laparoscopy and your surgeon is able to treat the condition during the same procedure, they may do so there and then. Or, they might decide that you need treatment in a second keyhole operation at a later date. All this will be explained to you in detail before you decide to have surgery.

A laparoscopy is a keyhole procedure, meaning it is minimally invasive and does not require large incisions across your tummy. Minimally invasive surgery offers faster recovery times than traditional open surgery and often causes less post-surgical pain, though it is not appropriate in all cases. 

This page should tell you everything you need to know about what a laparoscopy is and which conditions it can be used to diagnose and treat. If you would like to book an appointment, or have any further questions, don't hesitate to give us a call.

A laparoscopy starts from £3,950.*

However, this is just a starting price. The actual price you pay will depend on various factors, including which hospital and which consultant you choose, as well as what type of laparoscopy you need.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

If you have private health insurance, a laparoscopy will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, you might be recommended a laparoscopy.

  • Heavy periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Tummy and pelvic pain
  • Bloating and swelling
  • A feeling of pressure and fullness across your tummy
  • Urinary and bowel changes
  • Pain during sex
  • Difficulty getting pregnant

Having any or all of the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that you will need a laparoscopy, however these are the most common symptoms of the conditions most often diagnosed and treated using a laparoscopy. If you are experiencing these symptoms and they are affecting your quality of life, it might be time to speak to a gynaecologist.

If your gynaecologist feels that you are showing symptoms of any of the following conditions, they might recommend a laparoscopy to investigate further.

Uterine fibroids

Most women will develop one or more uterine fibroids during their reproductive lifespan. Uterine fibroids can lead to heaviness and pressure across your pelvic area. If left untreated, uterine fibroids will continue to grow, causing increased pelvic pain.


Endometriosis affects one in 10 women in the UK. One of the main concerns with endometriosis is that it is very difficult to diagnose, taking an average of seven and a half years. Endometriosis causes a wide array of difficult symptoms including severe pelvic pain, pain during sex, and infertility.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

This is an infection of the female reproductive system (which includes the womb, fallopian tubes, and ovaries). It does not usually cause symptoms, but when it does, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause heavy and painful periods, severe tummy pain, and fever.

Ovarian cysts

Most women will be unaware that they have an ovarian cyst (or cysts), because they are often asymptomatic. If you do have symptoms, the most common ones are pelvic pain, pain during sex, and unusually heavy periods.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Around one in 10 women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). There is no definitive diagnostic test for PCOS, so it can take time to diagnose through a process of elimination. PCOS causes symptoms including excessive hair growth, weight gain, and fertility issues.

A pelvic tumour

A pelvic tumour is any one of many tumours that can be found in your pelvic area. These can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Pelvic tumours typically cause a feeling of pressure on your tummy, bloating, and urinary and bowel changes. 

Our gynaecologists offer diagnostic laparoscopies, which help identify tummy and pelvic problems and how to treat them. We also offer a variety of laparoscopic treatment options, including: 

Laparoscopic ovarian diathermy for polycystic ovarian syndrome

The aim of the procedure is to induce ovulation and help regulate your cycle, which can become irregular as a result of polycystic ovarian syndrome. The procedure involves using a small needle-like instrument to puncture four holes in each of your ovaries. This reduces the level of testosterone produced from each ovary, which in turn helps you ovulate regularly and increases the likelihood of you getting pregnant.

Laser laparoscopy for endometriosis

There are various techniques used during a laparoscopy to remove patches of endometrial tissue from your abdomen and pelvic area. One of these is laser laparoscopy, which uses a thin beam of concentrated light to destroy and remove the endometrial patches of tissue. The laser is very precise and protects the tissue surrounding the patches of endometriosis.

The other techniques used during a laparoscopy to remove endometrial tissue involve the use of electrical heat (also known diathermy) and the removal of endometrial tissue by cutting it out with a specialist instrument (also known as excision surgery).

Find out more about laparoscopic treatments for endometriosis.

Laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy

This procedure will first identify and locate the cyst on your ovary. Then, a small cut on the surface of the ovary is performed in order to expose the cyst wall. The cyst is then gradually dissected from the ovary and removed.

Laparoscopic adhesiolysis

This a keyhole procedure to remove adhesions in your abdomen and pelvic area. An adhesion is a band of scar tissue that joins two surfaces of the body that are usually separate. They can be formed as a result of an infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Adhesions can also occur as a result of endometriosis. 

Laparoscopic ureterolysis

Ureterolysis is a surgical procedure to expose the ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder) to free it from external pressure and adhesions, or to avoid injuring it during pelvic surgery, such as a hysterectomy.

Laparoscopic sterilisation (female contraception)

A laparoscopic sterilisation is a permanent method of female contraception, which blocks both fallopian tubes to stop you from becoming pregnant.

Laparoscopic hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is an operation to remove your womb (uterus). In many cases the procedure can be done laparoscopically. This is a major operation that can be used for problems including heavy periods, pelvic pain, prolapse of the uterus and cancer of the womb, ovaries or cervix.

Laparoscopic myomectomy (fibroids removal)

If you have uterine fibroids, this operation can be used to detach and remove them from your uterus.

We offer many more laparoscopic treatment options for various gynaecological conditions at Circle Health Group. If you would like to learn more about them, give us a call on 0141 300 5009 and we'll help you find an appointment time that suits you.

You can usually see a specialist for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us. Give us a call on 0141 300 5009 and we'll help you find an appointment time that suits you.

During your initial appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and medical history. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions you have, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.

In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis, your consultant will carry out a gentle physical examination of your tummy. In some cases you might also need an X-ray or an ultrasound, which will be performed onsite by one of our radiologists. If you do need one of these scans, you might be asked to come back and have it on another day.

Your initial consultation is an important and positive step in your journey toward better health. To make the most of this appointment, be sure to talk as openly and honestly as you can about the pain and other symptoms you're experiencing, the way they make you feel, and what you're hoping to get from surgery. 

The time you'll wait between your initial consultation and a laparoscopy (or any other treatment you're recommended) will differ from person to person. Your consultant will share a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. After you know the costs, we can get you booked in to have your surgery at a time that suits you. 

You might be asked to avoid food and drink for up to 12 hours before having a laparoscopy. If you're taking blood-thinning medication, you might be asked to stop taking it for a few days before having the procedure. This is to prevent excessive bleeding during the operation. You might also be advised to stop smoking (if applicable) during the lead-up to having a laparoscopy.

Your healthcare team will ensure you know exactly how to prepare for a laparoscopy, so there won't be any surprises along the way. If you do need to stop smoking for a short period before surgery, they will offer offer advise and support on how best to do this.  

Laparoscopic surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, meaning you will not be awake during the procedure.

Your consultant will start the operation by making a small incision (cut) near your belly button. They will then insert the laparoscope (a thin tube with a light and camera on the end) through this incision.

Your consultant will pump carbon dioxide gas into your tummy in order to open it up and see your organs more clearly. The laparoscope will relay images to a television monitor in the operating theatre, offering your consultant a clear view of your tummy and pelvic area. If you are having a solely diagnostic laparoscopy, your surgeon should be able to use the images captured by the laparoscope to identify the cause of your problems.

If the laparoscopy is being used to carry out treatment (such as the removal of ovarian cysts), further small cuts will be made in your abdomen. Small surgical instruments will be inserted through these incisions, and your consultant will guide them to the right place using the view from the laparoscope. They will then use the surgical tools to carry out whichever treatment you need. 

After the procedure, the carbon dioxide will be released from your abdomen. Your consultant will close the incisions using stitches or clips. Next they will apply a dressing.

The operation usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes, but with certain treatments it might take longer.

After a laparoscopy, you might feel tired and disorientated as you recover from the effects of the general anaesthetic. It is also common to feel sick or vomit during this time, but this shouldn't last long.

You will be monitored by your nurse until you are fully awake and able to eat, drink and use the toilet.

Before leaving hospital, you'll be given all the information you need on how to keep your wounds clean, and when to return for a follow-up appointment to have your stitches removed (if your consultant has not used dissolvable stitches, which will disappear on their own).

For a few days after the procedure, you're likely to feel some pain and discomfort around the incisions, but this can be eased with traditional painkillers. You might also experience some bloating and cramps in your tummy caused by the gas. This is nothing to worry about and should resolve itself in a day or two.

The time it takes to recover from laparoscopy differs for everyone. It depends on factors such as your age, the reason for having the procedure (whether it was used to diagnose or treat a condition), and your general health and fitness levels. If you have had a laparoscopy to diagnose a condition, you will probably be able to resume your normal activities within five days.

Your recovery time following laparoscopic treatment depends on the treatment and your reason for having it. Your healthcare team will be able to explain your laparoscopy recovery timeline in detail, offering tailored information about how long the process will take based on your individual needs and circumstances.

Hannah Calvert had laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis at The Alexandra Hospital in Manchester.

"Looking back, I’d say I’ve never really had normal periods," says Hannah. "They’ve been painful and heavy ever since they started. Before my diagnosis, I had about three or four years of quite intense symptoms.

"I had countless visits to my GP that just felt hopeless. It wasn't until I was referred to an appointment at The Alexandra Hospital that I finally got a diagnosis of advanced infiltrating endometriosis."

Hannah's surgeon confirmed the diagnosis using a laparoscopy, and she also had a laparoscopy to remove the endometriosis. She has since had a second procedure to remove recurring endometriosis. 

"I have had surgery twice now but, unfortunately, I am one of many women whose endometriosis returns and I may have to have more surgery in the future," she explains.

"At the moment I am symptom free. (Touch wood!) I’ve recently had a baby and my periods haven’t returned yet... I feel very lucky that I have been able to have a baby. Who knows what my fertility would have been like if my endometriosis had been left untreated.

"Since surgery, my life has completely changed and I’m much happier. And at least if my symptoms do come back, I know what is causing them and I know where to go to get the right help and get it fast enough."

Read Hannah's full story.

A laparoscopy is a common and very successful procedure that is considered low risk. However, with any surgery there are always potential risks and complications. 

Potential minor complications of having a laparoscopy include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding or bruising around the incision(s)
  • feeling sick or being sick after surgery

Potential serious complications of having a laparoscopy include:

  • complications from the carbon dioxide used
  • complications as a result of general anaesthesia
  • damage to one of the organs inside your pelvis or to surrounding blood vessels
  • blood clots
  • damage to a major artery

Your consultant will talk you through all the potential risks of your laparoscopy before you have it and should be able to reassure you about any worries you might have.

We answer some of your frequently asked questions about having a laparoscopy.

What is a laparoscopy?

A diagnostic laparoscopy is a procedure to look inside your tummy and pelvic area. It is performed using a small telescope (a laparoscope), which is a thin tube with a light and camera attached to the end of it. This camera is connected to a monitor, which displays images of inside your tummy and pelvis.

Your consultant will examine these images to diagnose your condition as they perform the procedure. In some cases, your consultant will carry out treatment, such as the removal of ovarian cysts, during the procedure.

How long does a laparoscopy take?

The procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes, but might take longer if you are having treatment. 

When do I remove dressing after a laparoscopy?

You should be able to shower and remove your dressing 24 hours after a laparoscopy, but this might differ depending on your circumstances. Your consultant will ensure you have all the information you need about aftercare, including when it is safe for you to remove your dressing and when to attend follow-up appointments. 

How long after laparoscopy can you exercise?

If you have had a laparoscopy to diagnose a condition, you should be able to resume normal activities, including exercise, within five days. If you have had a laparoscopy for treatment, your recovery time will vary depending on the type of surgery you have. Your consultant will ensure you have all the information you need about your recovery period and when you can begin exercising after the procedure.

Can you have a laparoscopy on your period?

You cannot have a laparoscopy on a day when you are experiencing menstruation (having your period). When booking your surgery, you should organise it for a day when you won't be on your period.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:   

  • Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
  • The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
  • Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs  
  • Private en-suite rooms as standard 
  • Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
  • Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end  
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included  
  • Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care

If you want to know more about a laparoscopy and find out if it's the right treatment for you, 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 May 2022. Next review due May 2025.

  1. Gynaecological laparoscopy, Bupa
  2. Gynaecological Laparoscopy, Milton Keynes University Hospital
  3. Gynecologic Laparoscopy, Healthline
  4. Gynecologic Laparoscopy, UTSouthwestern Medical Centre
  5. Information For Patients Having a Gynaecological Laparoscopy, University Hospitals Plymouth

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