A laparoscopic surgeon in gynecology is a trained medical doctor who has specialized in surgery relating to the female reproductive system, and whose work is largely done as laparoscopic or ‘keyhole’ surgery. Laparoscopic means surgery done using a number of tiny incisions, through which are inserted a thin viewing tube and surgical instruments, so that investigations or surgery can be performed without having to make a large incision (cut). The smaller the surgical incisions, the less damage to the surrounding tissues of the body, and so laparoscopic surgery is increasingly used for all kinds of procedures.
Gynecology surgeons work with the female reproductive system and so have a wealth of experience in looking after women who may be shy or embarrassed by the sensitive nature of the investigations planned. All interactions between gynecology professionals and their patients will be performed with the utmost attention to the privacy and modesty of the patient, and a chaperone will always be available. Everything will be explained throughout and all efforts will be made to keep the patient feeling comfortable during this sensitive time.
Laparoscopic surgery is nearly always done under general anaesthetic, so a laparoscopic gynecology surgeon works in a sterile surgical theatre with a team of theatre practitioners including nurses and anesthetists.
Prior to planned (‘elective’) surgery, the surgical consultant or a member of their team will meet their patient at a pre-surgical assessment. They will take a medical history, explain the procedure planned, the risks and intended benefits, and will gain signed consent for the procedure when they are satisfied that the patient has a good understanding of it. The patient’s height, weight, and baseline vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate will be taken, usually by a nurse or nursing assistant.
On the day of the surgery, the patient is prepared, usually by nursing staff. This involves further baseline observations, arranging a hospital bed for the patient, and thorough checks to make sure the right patient is going for the right procedure. At this point, a small cannula may be inserted into a vein for administration of medication. Some doctors prescribe a preventative (‘prophylactic’) antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection from invasive procedures. This may be given through the cannula into the vein.
After surgery, the patient will have some recovery time. The recovery time after laparoscopic surgery is much shorter than the time it takes to recover from an operation where a large incision is made. The risks of scarring, infection and any other complications are also reduced.
It may be necessary for a follow-up appointment with a member of the gynecology team to assess recovery and the results of the procedure. This can be done in a clinic or hospital outpatient setting. It is not always possible to see the same doctor at every appointment, but all members of the medical and surgical team should offer seamless care.