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Laparoscopy and dye test

4-minute read

What is a laparoscopy and dye test?

A laparoscopy and dye test is an operation using keyhole surgery to look at your abdominal and pelvic organs, particularly your fallopian tubes. It is used to help find out why you are having difficulty becoming pregnant. For some women minor treatments can be performed at the same time.

Illustration showing the womb and surrounding structures.
The womb and surrounding structures.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The dye test will show if your fallopian tubes are blocked and may identify other conditions associated with infertility. The laparoscopy will help to find out if you have one of the following conditions.

  • endometriosis
  • pelvic infection
  • tissues can join together around the tubes or ovaries in an abnormal way
  • ovarian cysts
  • fibroids, where part of the muscle of your womb becomes overgrown

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

An x-ray called a hysterosalpingogram can be performed to see if your tubes are blocked. Another option is a similar test called HyCoSy, which uses ultrasound.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

Your gynaecologist will make a small cut, usually on or near your belly button, so they can insert an instrument in your abdominal cavity to inflate it with gas (carbon dioxide). They will usually make a further cut on your ‘bikini’ line so they can insert tubes (ports) into your abdomen. Your gynaecologist will insert instruments through the ports along with a telescope so they can see inside your abdomen and perform any minor procedures.

Your gynaecologist will use the manipulator which was inserted through the cervix to inject dye which passes through your cervix, uterine cavity and down your fallopian tubes.

How can I prepare myself for the operation?

If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.

which passes through your cervix, uterine cavity and down your fallopian tubes.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.

Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Speak to the healthcare team about any vaccinations you might need to reduce your risk of serious illness while you recover. When you come into hospital, practise hand washing and wear a face covering when asked.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • feeling or being sick
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
  • venous thromboembolism
  • chest infection

Specific complications of this operation

  • damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • developing a hernia near one of the cuts used to insert the ports
  • surgical emphysema
  • making a hole in your womb or cervix with possible damage to a nearby structure
  • failure to find out what the problem is
  • failed procedure
  • infection of the gynaecological organs or bladder

Consequences of this procedure

  • pain
  • unsightly scarring of your skin

How soon will I recover?

The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the laparoscopy and dye test and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

You should be able to go home the same day.

Rest for 1 to 2 days and take painkillers if you need them.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.


A laparoscopy and dye test helps to find out the cause of certain gynaecological problems associated with infertility, particularly if your fallopian tubes are blocked. For some women minor treatments can be performed at the same time.


The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright ©

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Last reviewed: September 2023

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