Laparoscopy Recovery Time

Compared to open surgery, laparoscopy recovery time is much shorter, taking an average of 6 to 24 hours after surgery to be discharged from hospital and most patients are able to go back to work within one or two weeks after surgery.

There is almost no surgery or investigation that could be done in the traditional way of cutting open the abdomen or any of our body cavity that cannot now be done using laparoscopy.

Because cuts are reduced to 1 to 2 cm on the skin from up to 30cm or more with open surgery and less tissues are damaged, recovery time is not only quicker, but the overall physical and psychological trauma of surgery on the body is significantly reduced with laparoscopic or minimal access surgery (also called keyhole surgery).

With the increasing use of robotic laparoscopy, a new era of excellent dimension in precision, reduced operating time and much fewer complications of surgery is now enjoyed by patients in many parts of the world.

Are you planning to have a minimal access or laparoscopic surgery and are wondering when you would be able to go back to work or do things you normally would? Let's take a look at factors that affects laparoscopy recovery time in general and then typical recovery times for various laparoscopic surgeries.

Factors That Could Affect Recovery Time

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to deep your hands into a basket containing different types of laparoscopic procedures and be able to pick up a definite recovery time frame for each operation?

The stark reality is that many factors work in tandem to influence how soon someone recovers following a laparoscopic surgery. They include:

  • The Type of Operation. Some laparoscopic surgery mare more extensive than others. Like a straight forward laparoscopy to take a look at the abdominal cavity to investigate the cause of an unexplained chronic abdominal or pelvic pain, would need much less recovery time than a laparoscopy done to removed a length of the large bowel
  • Complications during Surgery. Even for the same type of surgery, one may be more complicated than the other in many ways. A laparoscopy to removed adhesions might be met with complications like inadvertent injury to the spleen with heavy bleeding and subsequent removal of the spleen in one patient, and no such accidental injury in another patient who is having exactly the same laparoscopy for adhesion removal
  • Presence of Pre-existing Medical Conditions (Co-morbidities). A patient with pre-existing problem like diabetes or chronic obstructive air-way disease (COPD or COAD) is less likely to have a short laparoscopy recovery time, compared with a fit agile young patient without any pre-existing medical problem
  • Obesity. Even though the outcome of laparoscopy is far better than open surgery in the obese, if you are significantly obese, you may have a longer recovery time than the non-obese patient
  • Extremes of Life. Children tend to recover faster than adults after most surgeries, including laparoscopic surgeries. On the other hand, elderly ones might struggle with recovery, compared with a young adult

There are other factors that could affect recovery time after surgery like personal background stress less, access to sick pay and being self employed or not, home situation, level of marital bond and support etc.

Estimated Laparoscopy Recovery Time for Different Procedures

Provided there are no complications during surgery, the following are a general estimate of recovery time after laparoscopy for the following type of investigations or surgical operations.

Type of Surgery Hospital Discharge Time off work Comments
Appendix Removal (Laparoscopic Appendectomy) Discharged from hospital within 12 to 24 hours after surgery 10 to 14 days of work Avoid straining and heavy lifting for up to 6 weeks
Laparoscopy for Endometriosis Investigation only Discharged within 6 to 12 hours after surgery Off work for 7 Days Avoid straining for another 7 days
Ovarian cyst removal 6 to 24 hours after surgery Off work for 7 to 14 Days Avoid straining for 2 additional 2 to 4 weeks.
Laparoscopy for hysterectomy (Removal of the womb) 12 to 24 hours after surgery 2 to 4 weeks off work Avoid straining for 6 to 8 weeks.
Gall bladder Surgery (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) Home within 6 to 24 hours after surgery Back to work in 10 to 14 days Avoid strenuous job for another 4 weeks
Hernia Repair with mesh (Laparoscopic mesh hernia repair) Discharged same day Back to work within in 7 to 14 days Avoid strenuous jobs for another 10 weeks (3 months after operation)
Hemicolectomy and Colectomy (Laparoscopic bowel operation) Discharged 24 hours later Back to work after 3 to 4 weeks Must avoid strenuous jobs for another 4 weeks
Injecting varices of the esophagus Home within 6 to 12 hours Back to work in 7 to 10 days Avoid strenuous work for another one week
Laparoscopic Nephrectomy (Removal of the kidney) Discharged from hospital within 48 to 72 hours Off work for 4 to 6 weeks Avoid strenuous jobs for another 8 to 10

After laparoscopy, you should be able to resume eating within the first few hours unless advised not to, and sex in the first week or two.

What Was Your Recovery Time After Laparoscopy? We Would Love To Hear From You!

Did you have a laparoscopy recently? Was it for endometriosis, or ovarian cyst, or hysterectomy or perhaps for appendectomy? What was your recovery time like - from immediately after the operation till you went back to work or every day normal life? We would really love to hear from you ... and other visitors would love to learn from your experience too.

Whatever experience or story you have about recovery or healing time after a laparoscopy of any type, Share it here!

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