Laparoscopy is a way of doing surgery without making a large incision (cut). A thin tube known as the laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision. The laparoscope allows your doctor to see the pelvic organs. If a problem needs to be treated, other instruments are used. These instruments are inserted either through the laparoscope or through other small cuts in your abdomen.
Laparoscopy often is done as outpatient surgery. You usually can go home the same day, after you have recovered from the anesthesia. More complex procedures, such as laparoscopic hysterectomy, may require an overnight stay in the hospital.
What anesthesia is used for laparoscopic surgery?
You will be given general anesthesia before surgery that puts you to sleep and blocks the pain. Regional anesthesia instead of general anesthesia may be used. This type of anesthesia numbs the area, but you remain awake.
How is laparoscopic surgery performed?
Your provider will make a small incision in your navel and insert the laparoscope. The abdomen will be filled with a gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). The abdomen filled with gas allows the pelvic reproductive organs to be seen more clearly. The laparoscope shows the pelvic organs on a screen. Other incisions may be made in the abdomen for surgical instruments. These incisions usually are no more than one half an inch long. Another instrument, called a uterine manipulator, may be inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. This instrument is used to move the organs into view.
What is involved during recovery?
If you had general anesthesia, you will wake up in the recovery room. You will feel sleepy and may have nausea from the anesthesia. You will need someone to drive you home if you have had an outpatient procedure. You may feel tired and have some discomfort for a few days after the procedure. You may be sore around the incisions made in your abdomen and navel.
Sometimes, the tube put in your throat to help you breathe during the surgery may give you a sore throat for a few days. If so, try throat lozenges or gargle with warm salt water. You may feel pain in your shoulder or back caused from the gas used during the procedure. It goes away on its own within hours or a day or two. If pain and nausea do not go away after a few days or become worse, you should contact your health care provider. ￼￼
Your health care provider will let you know when you can get back to your normal activities. For minor procedures, it is often 1–2 days after the surgery. For more complex procedures, it can take longer. You may be told to avoid heavy activity or exercise.
Call our office at 770-887-0559 if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Pain that is severe or gets worse
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Redness, swelling, or discharge from the incision
Laparoscopy has many benefits including less pain than other abdominal surgery. The risk of infection is lower. You will be able to recover from laparoscopic surgery faster than from open abdominal surgery. It often can be done as outpatient surgery, so you usually will not have to spend the night in the hospital. The smaller incisions allow you to heal faster and have smaller scars.
As with any surgery, there is a small risk of problems with laparoscopy. These risks include:
- Bleeding or hernia in the incision sites
- Internal bleeding
- Injury to internal organs
- Problems caused by anesthesia
Sometimes the problems do not appear right away. The risk that a problem will occur is related to the type of surgery that is performed. The more complex the surgery, the greater the risk.
In some cases, the surgeon decides that a laparoscopy cannot be done during the surgery. An abdominal incision is made instead. If this happens, you may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two. Your recovery also will take longer.