What to expect when undergoing laparoscopic surgery

If you are a woman suffering from poor gastroenterology, urology or gynaecological health, you may be referred for laparoscopic treatment, otherwise known as keyhole surgery, to treat the problem. Knowing that it is a minimally invasive procedure that leaves little scarring and carries a lower risk of infection should help to put your mind at ease, but undergoing any sort of procedure can, of course, cause lots of worry and panic. Knowing what your procedure will entail is a helpful way to ease your mind, so here is what to expect from your laparoscopic procedure from start to finish.

Before your laparoscopy

Depending on the type of procedure you’ll be having, you are likely to be asked not to consume food or drink for 6-12 hours beforehand. You might well be asked to stop taking blood-thinning medicines (anticoagulants), such as aspirin, to avoid excessive bleeding during the procedure and will also be advised to stop smoking in the lead-up to your treatment as it delays the healing process and can increase the risk of infection.

It is at this stage, before you undergo surgery, that you will need to arrange for someone to collect you after your procedure as you will be advised not to get back behind the wheel for at least 24 hours.

During your laparoscopy

As the procedure is minimally invasive, you will be put under general anaesthetic for it to be carried out. Small incisions will be made in the abdomen and the area will be inflated to provide space for the surgeon to work in. Once the procedure is over, the incisions are stitched up and a dressing is applied. The length of the procedure depends on whether the surgeon is treating or investigating a condition, but it is unlikely to last any longer than 60 minutes.

After your laparoscopy

Although you are likely to be sent home the same day, it is important to take good care of yourself in the weeks that follow. Immediately after your procedure, you should expect to feel groggy or disorientated and may experience nausea, bloating, and cramp-like pains in your abdomen. You may also suffer from a sore throat if a breathing tube was used, but you will be provided with painkillers to treat this.

Recovery time varies depending on the person and the procedure and can range from anything between 14 days and 12 weeks for full recovery. It is important you rest and refrain from resuming normal activities until you have recovered. Should you be provided with non-dissolvable stitches, an appointment will be made to remove these and you will not be discharged until you are able to eat, drink and pass urine.

If you have any questions or would like to make an enquiry, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.