Laparoscopy recovery is quicker with less complications compared with open surgery. See what to expect as you recovery from such a procedure; when you can start eating, go back to work and resume other normal activities.
What To Expect After Laparoscopy
Recovery after a laparoscopic surgery is usually straightforward.
This is because there is less damage to your tissue during such minimal access procedure
or investigation, smaller entry wound size (the cut on your skin), less risk of
infections, less handling, pulling and pushing of the bowels, and less risk of blood
clot, even in the obese.
Whether you are having a laparoscopy as a test to take a
look at your internal organs only, or for the purpose of removing or correcting
a problem, the recovery process is roughly predictable.
From laparoscopic hysterectomy, appendectomy, hernia repair, ovarian cyst surgery, to laparoscopy for endometriosis and more, the following are what
to expect after.
What To Expect During Recovery From Laparoscopy
- Most cases of laparoscopy are done under general anesthesia, where you will be put to sleep completely.
- The medicines used to put you to sleep as well as the pain
killers used may be morphine based. As you start waking up from the effect of the anesthesia, they could make you feel drowsy, light-headed and nauseated.
- If the procedure involved your bowels, handling of your
bowel with the instruments could make your bowel "go to sleep" for a
few hours, making you feel nauseated too.
- Because of this, it is likely that you will be kept in the
recovery room until the effect of the anesthesia wears off from you.
- You may be given an anti-sickness injection or tablet like
metroclopromide or cyclizine or ondesantrone to help control your feeling of
nausea. If you feel nauseated during your recovery from laparoscopy and you
become uncomfortable from that, feel free to call your nurse or doctor and tell
him or her how you feel so that you get an anti-sickness medicine.
Shoulder Tip Pain
- About 2 to 3 liters of a special gas called carbon dioxide
is pumped into your abdomen to expand it and allow space for manoeuvrings during
- After laparoscopy, this gas floats up and stay under your
diaphragm as you seat, stand up or walk. It causes irritation of the diaphragm, leading to shoulder pain. This pain is typically worse a day after the surgery
and could last for another 2 to 3 days before it gets absorbed and gets out of
- It is a very common symptom seen during laparoscopy
- The use of simple pain killers, like paracetamol or
acetaminophen, lying flat or taking peppermint oil helps with this shoulder
pain seen after laparoscopy.
- Very rarely, blood under the diaphragm after a laparoscopic
procedure could also cause shoulder pain.
Abdominal Pain Or
Cramps And Bloating
- Pain around the small cuts on your abdomen where the probes
where placed is very common during laparoscopy recovery. The worse one tends to be the wound on or near
your belly button, though any of the entry site could become more painful
- There could also be abdominal cramps, especially if your
bowel was prodded during the procedure
- Any of these pain should get better within 2 to 3 days and
with the use of pain killers
- If you develop severe abdominal pain at any time after your
laparoscopy, it is best you call your doctor immediately at let him or her know
- Pain around your laparoscopy or keyhole surgery wound site after
day 5 or 7 is usually due to an infection. You should seek help if this happens
- The gas pumped into the abdomen, as well as handling of
bowels could cause bloating after laparoscopy, lasting for a few days. The use
of peppermint oil could help here too.
- After a laparoscopy, you should be able to resume eating
within 4 to 6 hours in most cases, especially if your bowels were not cut or
- If your laparoscopy involved bowel resection, must people
are able to start by taking sips of water the same day of the next, and if
tolerated, are able to start taking liquid meal by day two and resume solids a
day after, if they are able to keep food down
- A balanced diet is the most suitable diet for you after a
laparoscopy. You do not necessarily need to go a bland food devoid of
carbohydrate or fat or protein
- It is best to avoid an overly oily meal or too spicy dish
during a laparoscopy recovery.
- Most laparoscopic surgery are done as a day case, meaning
you should be able to go back home within a 6 to 8 hours after the procedure
- If that were not possible because of the complexity of your
operation or test, you should be able to go home the next day in a vast
majority of cases
- If you have fever, or bleeding or in severe pain, you must
not go home without letting your surgeons know.
When To Remove Stitches
- After a laparoscopic procedure, absorbable stitches are
increasingly used to secure the wound or cut on the skin of the abdomen. Such stitches
are best left to dissolve by themselves
- This usually happen by day 7 to 10
- If a non-dissolvable (non-absorbable) suture is used, it can
often come out between 2 to 10 days,
depending on the size of the wound and preference of the surgeon
- As a general rule, most sutures - whether absorb-able or not
should come out by day 5, if no instruction was given
- If there is any redness or swelling at the site of the stitches,
it is most likely due to infection, and you must let your healthcare provider
- Are your incisions itching after laparoscopy? If is normal
and a sign that the site of the operation is healing, provided there is no
increasing pain or swelling or redness or discharge, indicating infection.
Going Back To Work
- After a laparoscopy, you should be able to go back to work
within a week or two. The average recovery time to enable reasonable resumption
of moderate work is 10 days.
- You must not lift heavy objects or strain yourself for
another 2 to 4 weeks, to avoid your developing hernia from the site of
- If your work involve heavy manual labour, you may require 4
to 6 weeks for full recovery
- If in doubt, please speak with your surgeon or endoscopist.
- In most countries, you should be fine to drive once you are
fit enough to do an emergency stop after a surgery
- Generally, after most endoscopy surgery, you should be able
to drive within the first one week.
- If in doubt, ring both your surgeon and car insurance company or family physician and motor
- Sex after laparoscopic surgery can resume as soon as you feel
comfortable with it.
- For many, they are able to start sexual intercourse within
the first week or two without any problem.
- During this period, it should be done carefully to avoid
significant straining and pain
- Vigorous sex should wait till the 4th to 6th week
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