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Frequently Asked Questions – Laparoscopic Surgery
You may have a laparoscopy for either diagnosis or treatment of a gynaecological problem. Having a laparoscopic procedure avoids making a sizable cut in your stomach, as instead you will have between two and four smaller cuts in your abdomen. As a result you will experience less pain, have a shorter hospital stay, a quicker recovery and have smaller scars. While the procedure isn't suitable for all women, laparoscopic surgery is an option to treat a range of problems that previously required more invasive surgery. If you need a laparoscopy, understanding how to prepare, what it involves and your recovery afterwards will help you to feel more relaxed about the procedure.
How to Prepare for Laparoscopic Surgery?
You may have laparoscopic surgery to treat endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, an ovarian cyst, fibroids or scar tissues. Alternatively, this procedure is used for sterilisation, hysterectomy and for managing an ectopic pregnancy. As with any surgical procedure, there are some steps that you will need to take in preparation for your operation. For instance, if you smoke, quitting before the procedure is advisable, as this reduces problems with wound healing and infections. As laparoscopic surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic, you will normally not be able to eat or drink for six hours before the procedure, though you will be given specific instructions about this and it is important you adhere to this advice. If you are at increased risk of experiencing a blood clot, you may need to put on compression stockings or receive anti-clotting drugs before having surgery, but this will be discussed with you at your pre-operative assessment.
How Is Laparoscopic Surgery Performed?
An incision in your naval allows a tube to pass through the incision. Gas is passed through this tube to inflate your abdomen, separating your organs, providing a better view through the laparoscope. When receiving laparoscopic surgery, additional incisions lower down your abdomen allow the insertion of surgical instruments. After the procedure, the instruments are carefully removed and the gas is allowed out via the laparoscope before you receive stitches.
What Happens After Laparoscopic Surgery?
Pain relief is available after your operation, though you can also take over-the-counter painkillers once you are home. You may be able to go home the same day as the procedure or you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
However, due to the effects of the anaesthetic on your mental function, it's important that you don't drive, use machinery or drink alcohol within 24 hours of laparoscopic surgery; you should also arrange to have someone with you during this time. If you have dissolvable stitches, there is nothing you need do, as these disappear in around a week, though if you have those that aren't dissolvable, you will need to attend to have them removed. Whatever stitches you have though, you will receive guidance on wound care and bathing until your wounds have healed. Before you leave the hospital, you will also be given clear advice on how long you should rest for and when you can resume normal activities.
Are There Any Risks with Laparoscopic Surgery?
As all surgical procedures carry some degree of risk, it is important you are aware of these. With any operation, there is a risk that you may react to the anaesthetic, experience heavy bleeding or a blood clot, or that your wounds become infected, though measures are in place to minimise these risks. It is normal to experience a certain amount of abdominal and shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery due to the gas used during the procedure. This pain is only temporary though, typically improving in 48 hours. You may also notice some abdominal bruising near the insertion sites, though this usually clears up of its own accord.
Will I have to take time off work?
After laparoscopic surgery patients have to take 1-2 weeks off work but this will depend on the type of the operation that you are having. Mr Kunde will be able to provide this information during your preoperative appointment and you will also have the opportunity to ask questions