Diet and Nutrition

What to Expect After a Laparoscopy

What to Expect After a Laparoscopy

Key Takeaways

  • A laparoscopic surgery is done to deal with abdominal organ problems.
  • After the surgery, you are most likely to experience pain for up to seven days. 
  • Most of the time, laparoscopic surgeries are successful with minimal risks or complications.

Laparoscopic Procedure

A laparoscopic surgery is done to deal with abdominal organ problems. A small equipment known as the laparoscope is used to locate and identify defective abdominal organs. Small cuts or incisions are made in the abdomen and the laparoscope is inserted through the incisions, where it will view your abdomen internally. A laparoscope has a front camera that enables it to transmit captured images onto a video monitor. Your doctor, therefore, sees the internal parts of your body in real time. Carbon dioxide gas is then pumped into the incision for inflation purposes. Inflation can make the organs more visible to the doctor.

Expectations After the Operation

People will recover in various ways and time after the surgery. Your recovery will depend on what type of procedure you went through. If a major surgery is performed, recovery might take up to weeks. Other patients might only need a few days to get back to their normal routines.

After the surgery, you are most likely to experience pain for up to seven days. In the first 48 hours, various symptoms might be experienced. The symptoms might include lightheadedness, nausea, feeling of pain around the incision areas, bloating, vaginal bleeding or discharge just like in a menstrual period, shoulder pain as a result of the carbon dioxide, uterine cramping, abdominal pains, and a scratchy throat, among others.

If the above symptoms become severe, contact your doctor or nurse for assistance. In most cases, you will be given drugs that are solely responsible for countering the pain. Make sure that you have with you the prescription of drugs given by your doctor before leaving the hospital. The drugs will assist you in dealing with pain at home. Shoulder pains are commonly experienced after a laparoscopy. The pain in your shoulder is due to the carbon dioxide gas that is trapped in the diaphragm. Analgesics and heat can often help relieve the pain.

Immediately after the surgery, you are most likely to experience pain. A sore throat may be experienced because of the tube that was inserted into your throat during surgery. You may also feel cold after coming out of the recovery room. Always ensure that you have warm cover-ups to avoid this situation. You will also feel drowsy after the operation due to the anesthesia that was used. However, the effect of the anesthesia wears off after some time.

Being nauseous is also another common symptom that occurs after a laparoscopic operation. However, medications are available to counter the condition. A nausea medication might be taken before, during, and after the surgery. Occasionally, some people consider lying flat as a way of lessening the feeling. There also exist natural remedies to relieve the condition. Drinking ginger tea helps in minimizing nausea. However, it is better to always consult with your doctor before taking any herbal-related supplements or drugs.

At the incision site, you might experience the “pins and needles sensation”. The sensation is usually as a result of the nerves that have been cut. However, such sensations tend to wear off as you recover. When you notice any swelling, redness, or discharge coming out from the surgical wound, immediately contact the surgeon for further assistance.

Activities After the Surgery (as recommended by your doctor)

Home activities, diet, and medication

Your doctor will expect you to carry out the following activities after your operation. It is highly suggested that you adhere to the said guidelines to avoid unnecessary complications. These guidelines include taking enough rest, avoid driving due to the drowsiness caused by the anesthesia, and avoid doing sports activities while still taking pain medications. Your doctor’s prescription orders should also be followed when obtaining the right pain-relieving drugs.

You are also expected to consume a nutritious diet and ensure that your body is always hydrated. You are required to have light liquids and foods such as ginger ale and ice pops. These foods help in preventing stomach problems. It is recommended that you avoid citrus juices. Citrus juices from tomatoes and oranges are discouraged. Some days after the surgery, you will be in a position to get back to your regular diet. All these foods are important if you are taking pain medications. The reason is that most pain medication drugs cause constipation.

Bandage care/dressing

Bandages are used to cover the cuts that were made in your abdomen. Bandages are usually put on after the incisions have been stitched. Bandages can be removed two days after the operation. The piercings and jewelry that were removed during surgery may be put back on after two days. Your stitches, however, will not need to be removed. Self-absorbing stitches usually dissolve after two to six weeks. If self-absorbing stitches are not used, contact your physician for a follow-up appointment. Here, the stitches will be removed.

Ensure that the cuts are clean and dry after you remove the bandages. No special oils are required. After the surgery, antibiotics are taken to prevent an infection from happening. If a tape is used to cover the incisions, you will only need to leave it for a few days. Wash the incision area daily after removing the bandages. Use warm water and soap, and then pat dry using a clean cloth. Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol are to be avoided as they slow down the healing process. Bandages should be changed every day after dressing the incision areas.

Follow-up care

Be punctual in your doctor’s appointments for your checkup. Having a follow-up checkup will help your doctor observe on how you are recovering. If you still experience pain, an alternative medication may be prescribed. Your doctor can track your health status if you go for regular checkups. Therefore, never skip an appointment. These appointments are usually within two to six weeks after your surgery.

Potential Risks Involved in a Laparoscopic Surgery

Most of the time, laparoscopic surgeries are successful with minimal risks or complications. Moreover, if done by an expert, the chances of having complications can be zero to none. The usual complications resulting from the surgery are bleeding and infections. Abdominal-related pains and infection of the surgical wound are the ones that are frequently reported. Another case is when a related organ is punctured during the operation. Bleeding follows, and if the damage occurs in the colon, all that is contained in it will be drained into the abdomen.

Always report these complications to your doctor for further assistance. You are always advised to be keen to know the various abnormal signs and symptoms. When you fail to report these complications to your doctor, you put yourself at risk of having a permanent damage to your abdominal organs.

When your doctor sees that the complications can be handled, he or she will deal with it right away. If not possible, he will recommend further treatment from other experts.