Patients should be fully warned of the potential complications from laparoscopy, the procedure used to examine or fix female reproductive organs, according to French researchers.
They looked at a total of 17,521 laparoscopies carried out at seven referral centres in France between 1987 to 1989 and 1990 to 1991. The procedure consists of a lighted tube with a magnifying lens (laparoscope) being inserted through a small cut in the abdominal wall to examine or operate on the ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Out of these cases, one woman died following the procedure. The rate for "nonlethal" complications for diagnostic and minor laparoscopy treatments ranging from ovarian biopsy to assisted fertility was 1.1 per thousand; and for major or advanced laparoscopic procedures ranging from treatments for ectopic pregnancy to hysterectomy was 5.2 per thousand.
Of the seven patients whose complications arose when either their gastrointestinal or urinary tract was perforated by a surgical instrument, six were having diagnostic or minor laparoscopy.