Laparoscopy and dye test

A laparoscopy and dye test is a diagnostic procedure designed to identify factors that may be causing fertility difficulties. It aims to determine the underlying causes of infertility.
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What is a Laparoscopy and dye test?

A laparoscopy and dye test, commonly known as a lap and dye test, is a surgical procedure that examines the reproductive organs to determine the underlying causes of infertility, with a specific focus on identifying whether the fallopian tubes are blocked. This minimally invasive operation serves as a diagnostic tool for gynecologists to pinpoint gynecological factors contributing to difficulties in conceiving.

What are the benefits of a lap and dye test?

During the procedure, the dye test is utilized to assess the presence of blockages in the fallopian tubes, while the laparoscopy explores the reproductive system for conditions that can affect fertility including:
  • Polycystic Ovaries
  • Endometriosis
  • Adhesions (scar tissue resulting from prior surgery)
  • Pelvic Infection
  • Fibroids
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What happens during a Laparoscopy and dye test?

A laparoscopy and dye test is typically performed under general anaesthesia, taking around fifteen minutes.

The procedure begins with a small incision made near the belly button through which a laparoscope is inserted. To improve visibility of the organs, carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the abdominal cavity. Equipped with a camera at its tip, the laparoscope provides a clear view of the abdominal and pelvic regions for the consultant. In the case of a diagnostic laparoscopy, the consultant can then identify the underlying cause of the fertility issues based on the images.

During the test, a dye is injected, which travels through the cervix, uterine cavity, and spills out of the fallopian tubes. This helps determine if any blockages are present within the fallopian tubes.

Are there any alternatives to a laparoscopy?

Additional imaging techniques such as a hysterosalpingogram, an x-ray procedure, or a HyCoSy ultrasound test can determine whether the fallopian tubes are blocked. However, HyCoSy can only determine whether your tubes are blocked or not, and will not enable your consultant to identify other possible factors contributing to your difficulty to conceive.
Jason Yap - Consultant Gynaecologist
Consultant Gynaecologist, Gynaecological Oncologist & Lead Clinician for Vulval Disease
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What are the risks of laparoscopy and dye test?

A laparoscopy and dye test is generally considered safe and minimally invasive. However, like any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of complications. Your consultant will provide a detailed explanation of all the potential risks and complications prior to the surgery, addressing any concerns or questions you may have.

Feel free to ask as many questions as needed to fully understand the possible risks and complications associated with the procedure. This will help alleviate any worries and enable you to make an informed decision.

Potential complications of any surgery may include:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to anaesthesia
Specific complications relating to a laparoscopy and dye test include:
  • Damage to nearby organs such as the bowel or bladder
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Incisional hernia - where abdominal tissue protrudes through the incision site
  • Surgical (subcutaneous) emphysema, where gas becomes trapped in the deepest layer of the skin
  • Damage to the uterus or cervix
  • The possibility of an unsuccessful diagnosis
Post procedure information


Recovery from surgery varies for each individual and depends on factors such as age, overall health, and any potential complications during the procedure. Your consultant will provide an estimated recovery timeline based on your specific circumstances.

Following the surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room, where you will be closely monitored until the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Subsequently, you will be transferred to your assigned room.

Will there be pain after surgery?

It is normal to experience some discomfort around the incision sites for a few days following the surgery. Over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can be taken if necessary.

You may notice bruising in the lower abdomen and abdominal swelling. Additionally, you might experience discomfort in the shoulders, upper chest, and the back of your neck. These sensations are a result of the gas used during the procedure and should subside within a few days.

Is post-surgery bleeding expected?

It is common to have vaginal bleeding for up to seven days after the surgery. It is advised to use sanitary towels instead of tampons to reduce the risk of infection. If the bleeding is heavy, lasts longer than a week, or has an unpleasant odor, it is recommended to contact your healthcare provider.

For a few days after the surgery, you may observe a blue discharge from the vagina. This is caused by the dye used during the procedure and is not a cause for concern.

Is post-surgery bleeding expected?

It is recommended to abstain from sexual intercourse for at least two weeks after the operation, or until any vaginal bleeding has ceased, even if it extends beyond the two-week mark.

Avoid heavy lifting or engaging in strenuous activities for a minimum of six weeks following the surgery.

How do I care for my incision wounds?

Your incision wounds will be closed with either dissolvable stitches or surgical glue, neither of which requires removal. However, a follow-up appointment may be scheduled after approximately five days to ensure proper healing.

The incision sites may ooze for the first day or two, and a sterile dressing will typically be in place during the initial 24 hours before it can be removed. It is important to keep the wounds clean and dry, washing your hands before and after any contact with the incision sites.

After 24 hours, you can take a shower, ensuring the incision sites are thoroughly dried afterward by gently patting them with a clean towel. If the wounds become red, sore, swollen, or emit an unpleasant smell, it is advised to contact your healthcare provider.

How long will I stay in hospital?

A laparoscopy and dye test is usually performed as a day case procedure, allowing you to return home on the same day. However, in certain situations, such as having a chronic health condition, a longer recovery period from anesthesia, or significant pain, a one-night hospital stay may be required.

Can I drive myself home?

Due to the effects of the general anesthesia, which can impair reaction times, it is not safe to drive yourself home after the laparoscopy and dye test. Please arrange for someone to pick you up from the hospital, or alternative transportation, such as a taxi, can be organized if preferred.

When can I return to work?

Rest is recommended for the first day or two after the procedure. If your job is sedentary, such as office work, you may be able to resume work after approximately one week. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate timing for returning to work following your surgery.

When can I resume driving?

You can resume driving once you can perform an emergency stop comfortably. It is generally advised to refrain from driving for the first two to three days after the surgery due to the effects of the general anesthesia. It is important to inform your insurance company before driving after the procedure.

When will I feel back to normal?

Recovery from a laparoscopy and dye test varies for each individual. You can gradually increase your activity level after the initial few days, but if you feel tired or experience any pain, it's important to stop and rest. Most people typically fully recover within two weeks after the laparoscopy and dye test, although individual experiences may differ.

Remember to follow your healthcare provider's instructions regarding post-operative care, medication, and follow-up appointments. If you have any concerns or questions during your recovery period, don't hesitate to reach out to your consultant or healthcare team for guidance and support.