Laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2001 Jan;56(1):50-9. doi: 10.1097/00006254-200101000-00025.


In the last decade, operative laparoscopic procedures are performed increasingly in both gynecology and general surgery. The major advantages of this newer minimally invasive approach are: decreased postoperative morbidity, less pain and decreased need for analgesics, early normal bowel function, shorter hospital stay, and early return to normal activity. With the advancement of laparoscopic surgery, its use during pregnancy is becoming more widely accepted. The most commonly reported laparoscopic operation during pregnancy is laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). Other laparoscopic procedures commonly performed during pregnancy include: management of adnexal mass, ovarian torsion, ovarian cystectomy, appendectomy, and ectopic pregnancy. The possible drawbacks of laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy may include injury of the pregnant uterus and the technical difficulty of laparoscopic surgery due to the growing mass of the gravid uterus. Also, the potential risk of decreased uterine blood flow secondary to the increase in intraabdominal pressure and the possible risk of carbon dioxide absorption to both the mother and fetus should be taken into account. To date, data on laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy are insufficient to draw conclusions on its safety and exact complication rate. This is due to the few cases reported and the lack of prospective studies. Furthermore, there is a common tendency to underreport unsuccessful cases. Finally, most reports in the literature come from centers and surgeons with special interest, experience, and skills in laparoscopy, and their results may not reflect the real complication rates. We have reviewed the pertinent English literature from the last decade. The cumulative experience suggests that laparoscopic surgery may be performed safely during pregnancy, although more studies are needed to establish its exact rate of adverse events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adnexal Diseases / surgery
  • Adult
  • Appendectomy / methods
  • Carbon Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Cholecystectomy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / surgery*
  • Risk Factors
  • Torsion Abnormality / surgery
  • Uterus / blood supply
  • Uterus / pathology


  • Carbon Dioxide