Laparoscopy is a type of surgery done using very small incisions. This type of surgery is possible because of the laparoscope, a long, slender tool with a camera and light that allows your surgeon to see inside the abdomen. The scope is put through one of the incisions. This sends pictures from the inside of the body to a video screen.
Pelvic laparoscopy is often used to diagnose and treat the causes of pelvic problems, such as pain and infertility.
Laparoscopy often involves:
- A short hospital stay; you can most likely go home the same day
- A quick recovery
- Minimal anesthesia
- Small external scars
- Mild to moderate postoperative pain
Risks and Complications of Surgery
These may include:
- Damage to blood vessels, nerves, muscles or nearby pelvic structures
- Risks of anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Need for a larger incision
To prepare for surgery:
- Tell your surgeon about any medications you take, including herbs, supplements and over-the-counter medications. You may need to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, for 2 weeks before surgery.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.
- Arrange for a ride home after surgery.
Before the Procedure
You will most likely be given general anesthesia to make you sleep during the procedure. A catheter may be inserted to drain urine from the bladder.
How Pelvic Laparoscopy is Done
One or more small incisions are made near the navel or the pubic hairline. The laparoscope is inserted through an incision. It sends images to a video screen, allowing the surgeon room to see and work. Depending on what is found, surgery to treat the problem may be done at this time.
After the Procedure
- You will be taken to a post-op area to wake up and recover from anesthesia.
- You may feel some shoulder pain. This is due to irritation from the gas used to inflate the abdomen.
- You may have some vaginal discharge. If so, ask your nurse for a sanitary pad.
- You will be asked to walk around to improve breathing and blood flow.
- If you had a catheter, it will likely be removed before you go home.
- You can go home as soon as you recover from anesthesia and your condition is stable.
Your recovery from pelvic laparoscopy may take up to 2 weeks. While you recover, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. During this time:
- Take pain medication as prescribed.
- Start eating solid food when you feel ready. To avoid constipation, eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drink plenty of fluid.
- Do not lift anything over 20 pounds until your doctor says it is safe.
- Take it easy for a few days. Ask your doctor when you can return to work, exercise and resume sexual intercourse.
Schedule follow-up visits with your doctor.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
Chills or a fever above 101°F or higher.
Notice that the incision is red, swollen or draining.
Bright red vaginal bleeding or a foul-smelling discharge.
Severe abdominal pain or bloating.
Leg pain, redness or swelling.
Persistent nausea or vomiting.
Are not improving daily.