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What can I Expect During Laparoscopy Recovery?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Laparoscopy is a technique used to perform surgical procedures or remove tissue from the pelvic or abdominal region for diagnosis. Recovery from this varies depending on the type of procedure performed, as well as the person on which it was performed. Generally, patients will be kept in the hospital for a short time for monitoring. After they are discharged, some pain and bleeding may occur, and most patients will be given prescriptions for pain relievers and antibiotics.

The first part of laparoscopy recovery typically involves a short stay in the hospital. Most of the time, patients are not required to stay longer than a few hours. Some patients, however, may be required to stay for a day or two.

During this hospital stay, the patient's vital signs will be monitored closely. This is an important part of laparoscopy recovery. During this time, doctors and nurses are close in case the patient has an allergic reaction to the anesthesia or if he received any internal injuries.

When a patient is released after having this procedure, he will usually be given information regarding laparoscopy recovery. This information will usually outline things such as what to expect in the following days, when to seek medical attention, what types of medications are being prescribed, and any limit on activities. Most patients are also strongly advised not to drive the same day as the procedure, as the effects of the anesthesia may still be lingering.

Mild to moderate pain or discomfort is one of the most common complaints of patients undergoing a laparoscopy recovery. This usually occurs on and around the incision site, but abdominal cramps may also be experienced. Some patients also experience some bloating. These side effects usually subside after a few days.

Some women may also experience some vaginal bleeding. This usually occurs after a laparoscopy that is done for a procedure involving the female reproductive organs. For example, during recovery from laparoscopic hysterectomy, a woman can experience vaginal bleeding for a few days to a week.

Patients are usually advised to call their doctors if they experience certain dangerous side effects during laparoscopy recovery. These can include sharp or severe abdominal pains, fever or chills, expansion of the abdominal wall, or vomiting. Any discharge at the incision sites should also be checked out by a doctor, as this can indicate a serious infection.

Normal daily activities can be usually be resumed within a few days. Most doctors recommend, however, that patients recovering from a laparoscopy procedure refrain from any heavy lifting for at least a month afterward. Also, running, jumping, or contact sports — like football — should also be avoided.

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Discussion Comments
By anon336060 — On May 25, 2013

As a physician recovering from her third gynecologic laparoscopy, I can tell you that you glossed over a major source of discomfort during laparoscopic recovery.

In order to see and operate on organs tucked within the normally dark and airless abdomen, a large amount of CO2 is insufflated at the start of surgery. This gas is chosen because it is supposed to absorb quickly, but it sometimes takes a day or two.

Gas up under the diaphragm is terribly uncomfortable, can inhibit breathing, coughing, and clearing of lungs (thus pneumonia could result), and can even make things like burping uncomfortably painful. There is no cure except time, but the condition can be pretty miserable when it is severe.

One of the best ways to experience relief is to get recumbent, horizontal, or even upside down (for example, a modified shoulder stand in yoga or just getting your sacrum and legs elevated above the rest of your body somehow). This moves the gas, which floats to the most superior position, to a less sensitive part of the abdomen, can relieve the pressure on the diaphragm that makes breathing difficult, and instantly relieve the awful referred shoulder pain. Stay down for as much time as you need for pain relief, but of course, get up and move around whenever possible so as to get things stirring and speed recovery. Nonsteroidals can help a bit, and definitely help directly with the cramping of organs that have been cut or otherwise disturbed by the surgery. Antiflatulents such as simethicone, or carminative herbs such as mints, ginger, melissa, cardamom, clove, and garlic can also help once the gas starts diffusing into the intestinal tract.

But while the gas is free in the abdomen and trapped by its confines, you may require narcotic pain relief. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor for it.

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