Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery in which a tube with a camera is inserted through the abdomen so that the surgeon can see into the body.
What Does a Laparoscopy Entail?
Laparoscopic surgeries are low-risk and simple. The surgeon makes a small incision below the patient’s belly button and inflates the abdomen with carbon dioxide to make the interior more visible. The surgeon then slips a thin fiber-optic tube called a laparoscope through the abdominal wall. Mounted with a light and camera, the laparoscope transmits real-time video of the patient’s organs to a monitor for the surgeon to study. Common organs that laparoscopes image include livers, gallbladders, spleens, ovaries, stomachs, appendixes, pancreases and colons.
Laparoscopies allow surgeons to get high-resolution images of organs and to retrieve a biopsy for later studies. Some problems that laparoscopic surgery can identify include tumors, liver disease, and cancer progression. In addition, this surgery can help doctors determine whether a treatment is working and whether they need to perform an intervention right away.
Since laparoscopies are typically outpatient surgeries, you most likely won’t have to stay at the hospital overnight. Because the surgery only requires one to four 0.5- to 1.5-centimeter incisions, scarring tends to be minimal. Such incisions are stitched or taped shut.
How Do You Prepare for This Surgery?
Before getting a laparoscopy, let your doctor know if you’re pregnant right away so they know to work around your baby. Also, tell your doctor what medications you’re taking, especially if you’re on anticoagulants, painkillers, dietary supplements, anti-inflammatory drugs or any other medicine that can influence blood clotting. Your doctor may change your dosage in preparation for surgery.
Keep in mind that doctors often perform thorough diagnostics before subjecting patients to this surgery, including chest X-rays, urinalysis and blood tests. Before getting laparoscopic surgery, patients must typically forgo food and drink for eight or more hours in advance so there’s no risk of vomiting while on anesthesia. Make sure you have a ride home once the surgery is over. Driving while recovering from anesthesia is dangerous.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
Recovery from this surgery doesn’t take long. Patients stay at the hospital for a few hours so doctors can assess their vitals. If you’re in good condition, show no signs of an adverse reaction to anesthesia and don’t have any surgical bleeding, you should be able to leave the hospital that day.
Although effects from anesthesia wear off after just a couple of hours, surgical pain may linger for a few days, requiring painkillers if bad enough. After seven days, you should be able to function like usual. Just remember to get plenty of sleep along with light physical activity to ensure your blood doesn’t clot.
What Should Women Know about Laparoscopic Surgeries?
This surgery is especially helpful for women suffering from infertility. It can detect problems with women’s reproductive organs, such as endometriosis, fibroids, fallopian blockage, ovarian cysts, organ trauma, pelvic inflammatory disease, and much more. Laparoscopes can image the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus with precision thanks to their high-resolution telescopic cameras. Women may experience nausea, swelling, urinary difficulty, abdominal pain, shortness of breath and a host of other problems after getting this surgery. About 0.3% of women who get female pelvic surgeries experience surgery-related problems.
To make the surgery as easy as possible, avoid wearing high-heeled shoes on the day of your laparoscopy and remove any nail polish you may have. Although it’s normal for vaginal bleeding to resume about four weeks after laparoscopic surgery, menstrual-related complications can arise. For example, your menstrual blood may have clotting and your bleeding may be more profuse and painful than usual.