Laparoscopy is surgery performed using the laparoscope, a lighted telescope which can be attached to a camera for viewing on a screen. Laparoscopic surgery is sometimes termed "minimally invasive surgery," because the incisions made are smaller than traditional laparotomy incisions. This generally leads to an easier and less complicated recovery for the patient. It should not, however, be inferred that the surgery being performed is not major surgery just because the incisions are small.
The laparoscope was first used by gynecologists to look into the pelvis to diagnose problems such as endometriosis and infertility. When I was in medical school, tubal ligation was the only therapeutic procedure performed with the laparoscope. Now there are a multitude of procedures performed this way, including diagnosis and treatment of pelvic pain and infertility, treatment of endometriosis, lysis of adhesions, removal of ovarian cysts, and hysterectomy.