What to Know About Laparoscopic Surgery
A laparoscopy is a surgical technique using a thin, lighted tube that’s threaded through a small incision in the belly to look at abdominal organs, and in many cases, female pelvic organs. Laparoscopy is used to detect problems such as uterine fibroids, cysts, adhesions (scar tissue), and infection. Other common procedures include hysterectomy, removal of abnormal tissue, tissue biopsy, and tubal ligation (commonly referred to as getting your tubes tied).
Laparoscopic surgery has many benefits, including less pain after surgery, a lower risk of infection, a quicker recovery time, and generally, the procedure can be done as an outpatient surgery so you will be able to return home the same day. Additionally, because of the smaller incisions, your body heals faster and the scars will be smaller.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you want to learn more about a laparoscopic procedure, first make an appointment with your doctor to discuss surgery options. During your pre-op visit with your OB/GYN, it’s important to ask as many questions as you need so that you can feel comfortable about the procedure. Questions to ask include:
- How long does the surgery typically take?
- What can I expect the aftercare to be like?
- What steps do I need to take to prepare for the surgery?
- What can I take for pain relief after the surgery?
What to Expect After Laparoscopic Surgery
In most cases, you will be able to return home the same day of your surgery. The doctor will want to keep you for 2 to 4 hours after the surgery to monitor you and prepare for your trip home. For the first 24-48 hours, you might experience some of the following symptoms:
- Pain at the site where the scope is passed through the wall of the abdomen.
- Mild nausea from the medicine
- Cramps similar to menstrual cramps
- Discharge like a light menstrual flow for up to 7 days
- Aching in your neck and shoulders from the gas put in your abdomen.
- Swelling in your abdomen for a few days.
- Bruising at the incision site.
- Fatigue or muscle aches for a day or two.
If you can, try to enlist the help of a good friend or family member beforehand. You’ll want to make sure take it easy for a few days, so pre-schedule things like basic housecleaning, laundry, and a handful of easy-to-heat meals so that you’re off you’re feet as much as possible.