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Laparoscopic surgery is different for everyone. Each of us will have a different experience based on expectations, extent of surgery, length of surgery, surgeon, facility, nursing staff, how we react to pain, and a variety of other factors.
However, each person heals differently. What works for one person may not be work for another. Medical professionals may tell us it takes a few days to recuperate from a laparoscopy. Yet most of us have found that complete healing takes much longer than that, usually several weeks.
Let us take a better idea of what is involved before and after laparoscopy.
Pack very loose clothing to wear soon after surgery, preferably something without a waistband. An oversized pullover dress is ideal. You may also have to take mini-pads, socks, and slip-on shoes or house slippers. There might be a possibility you may be staying overnight, consider packing a hairbrush, lotion, bathrobe, toothbrush/toothpaste.
Laparoscopy is usually done on an outpatient basis, however an overnight stay may be required if the surgery is complex or lengthy. It’s a good to be mentally prepared to spend at least one night.
Almost everyone has some fears about surgery. You might be worried about the risks, the anaesthesia, the pain, or what the surgeon may (or may not) find. If you are scared, then work toward minimizing that particular fear. For example, if you’re afraid of the anaesthesia, let your doctor or anaesthesiologist know before the procedure to discuss your fears. If you are afraid of pain, ask your doctor exactly how your pain will be managed. Many women have found that music before, during, and after surgery also help allay fears.
Laparoscopy is usually done under general anaesthesia. Generally, a very small incision is made near the belly button and the abdomen is filled with CO2 gas. This lifts abdomen away from the internal organs, giving the surgeon a better view. The lighted laparoscope with attached camera is then inserted into the abdomen. Two or three other small incisions may be made in the abdomen so additional surgical instruments, such as a probe to move organs, can be used during the surgery.
During the laparoscopy, the doctor examines the pelvic organs, looking for any pathology like obvious and atypical endometriosis lesions as well as endometriomas (endometriosis-are filled cysts), adhesions, and scarring. Depending on your history and symptoms, the doctor may also look for fibroids, patency of fallopian tubes or other abnormalities. Other procedures, like hysteroscopy (an examination of the inside of the uterus) may also be performed.
Diagnosis and the treatment of endometriosis may take place during the same procedure. Your doctor might remove the lesions to send to a lab for biopsy. This will document the absence or presence of endometriosis.
Usually, for a simple gynecological laparoscopic surgery, no specific bowel preparation is needed apart from fasting for 6-8 hours. If some complicated endometriosis surgery, adhesions or malignancy involving bowel is anticipated, then the doctor may advise bowel preparation.
1. When you come out of the anaesthesia in the recovery room, you might be in pain. If so, make sure to speak up so it can be properly managed.
2. Shoulder pain is also common after laparoscopy because of the gas irritating the diaphragm. It is usually self-resolving and can be managed with pain-killers.
3. Coming out from anaesthesia will also make you feel a bit or very cold. Ask for more warm blankets if you’re chilled.
4. You might also have a sore throat from the tube that’s put in your throat during surgery.
5. Most of them might experience some nausea after laparoscopy. Many medications exist to help with this.
6. If there's anything which is bothering you, tell the nurse or doctor right away. In many cases, you’ll be given a prescription for pain medication to take at home. If possible, have prescription filled prior to your discharge or very soon thereafter.
If your surgery is scheduled to be in an outpatient basis, you will be required to have someone drive you home. It’s a good idea to choose someone who is helpful and supportive and who can assist you in the house. If they can stay overnight at your home, even better. At least for the first evening, you will be numb and may have some difficulty getting around.
Most of you might experience a period of emotional ups and downs following surgery. For some, the blues remain for several weeks. It’s not unusual to cry easily or become anxious, frightened, or suspicious. Some of us might also experience nightmares following surgery. All of this shall pass in time and you will begin to feel in control again. Be gentle and patient with yourself during physical and emotional recovery.
Most of us have found that comfy clothes are very welcome during the first few days after laparoscopy. The incision site will be tender and the abdomen is swollen. Hence, you probably won’t want to wear anything snug around the middle. If you don’t have many loose-fitting clothes, you better purchase a few outfits prior to surgery.
Most women recover well within first two or three days following laparoscopy. During this time, it might helps your family member or friend remain close by. You may want to put this person in charge of managing your medications for the first couple of days. You will probably need someone to fix your meals for a short time.
Experiences with the first menstrual period vary dramatically. If your period is more painful, heavier or longer than usual, don’t panic. Internal healing takes much longer than external healing. However, if you are concerned about the degree of pain, contact your doctor at the earliest.
Your doctor may restrict you from driving for two weeks following laparoscopy. Intercourse, douching, tub bathing and swimming will also be restricted. However, be sure to get up and move around when you are able to. You will recover more quickly in that way.
You may feel a pins or needles like sensation at the incision site. This is due to the nerves being cut. Over time, the nerves will heal and the sensation or pain will subside. If you have bothersome symptoms at incision site, such as a knot, swelling, or redness, contact your doctor.
Talking to others about their experiences is also beneficial. Most women who have had a laparoscopy and can provide valuable information to anyone going through it for the first time.