Laparoscopy, also known as diagnostic laparoscopy, is a surgical diagnostic procedure used to examine the organs inside the abdomen. It’s a low-risk, minimally invasive procedure that requires only small incisions.Laparoscopy uses an instrument called a laparoscope to look at the abdominal organs. A laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. The instrument is inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall. As it moves along, the camera sends images to a video monitor.Laparoscopy allows your doctor to see inside your body in real time, without open surgery. Your doctor also can obtain biopsy samples during this procedure.
When the surgery is over, you’ll be observed for several hours before you’re released from the hospital. Your vital signs, such your breathing and heart rate, will be monitored closely. Hospital staff will also check for any adverse reactions to the anesthesia or the procedure, as well as monitor for prolonged bleeding.
The timing of your release will vary. It depends on:
- your overall physical condition
- the type of anesthesia used
- your body’s reaction to the surgery
In some cases, you may have to remain in the hospital overnight.
A family member or friend will need to drive you home if you received general anesthesia. The effects of general anesthesia usually take several hours to wear off, so it can be unsafe to drive after the procedure.
In the days following laparoscopy, you may feel moderate pain and throbbing in the areas where incisions were made. Any pain or discomfort should improve within a few days. Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve the pain.
It’s also common to have shoulder pain after your procedure. The pain is usually a result of the carbon dioxide gas used to inflate your abdomen to create a working space for the surgical instruments. The gas can irritate your diaphragm, which shares nerves with your shoulder. It may also cause some bloating. The discomfort should go away within a couple of days.
You can usually resume all normal activities within a week. You’ll need to attend a follow-up appointment with your doctor about two weeks after laparoscopy.
Here are some things you can do to ensure a smoother recovery: