Laparoscopy is a type of diagnostic/surgical procedure that enables surgeons to take a closer look at the organs in the abdomen and reproductive organs. Laparoscopy gets its name from the laparoscope, a small tube that has a light source and a camera which reveals images of the internal organs on a television monitor. The procedure allows surgeons to diagnose medical conditions, conduct biopsies and even remove damaged or diseased organs without making large incisions in the skin.
In recent years, laparoscopic surgery has gained immense popularity over traditional open surgery due to a painless procedure, minimal bleeding, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery time and reduced scarring. It has become the most preferred means of treating ectopic pregnancy and removing fibroids and the uterus. However, the experience of laparoscopic surgery varies depending upon the extent and length of the surgery, patient’s expectations, pain tolerance and healing ability.
How Is Laparoscopy Carried Out?
Laparoscopy surgery is performed under general anaesthetic, which is why most patients feels satisfied and feel no pain. During the surgery, the doctor makes one or two small incisions, usually near the navel. A tube is then inserted through the incision to inflate the abdomen using carbon dioxide to give clarity and more space to the doctor. Then, the laparoscope is inserted through the tube to relay images on the television monitor as the doctor performs the surgery.
If the laparoscopy is meant for surgical treatment such as hysterectomy(removal of uterus) ,fibroid removal,ovarian cyst,ectopic pregnancy and infertility the surgeon will insert small surgical instruments through the other incision to carry out the treatment. After the procedure, the carbon dioxide is let out and the incisions are stitched up. The treatment takes somewhere between 1-3 hours, depending on the type of procedure and complications.
Also, Read: Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery
Recovery After the Laparoscopic Surgery
After the laparoscopy, the patient is taken to a recovery room where they wait for the effects of the anaesthetic to dissipate. At first, the patient may feel confused, disoriented or nauseous but these side effects pass away quickly. Nurses usually monitor the patient for a few hours or days depending upon the extent of the procedure. After the patient can eat, drink and pass urine on their own, they are discharged from the hospital. At home, the patient may take 3-6 weeks to recover fully from the surgery or longer, depending on the type of treatment.
Pain Following the Laparoscopic Surgery
Due to the effects of the anaesthetic medicine, patients often feel minimal pain only. Once the effect of anaesthetic medicine begins to wear off, the healthcare provider gives the patient painkilling medications to ease the pain. In the meantime, the patient may experience some of the following pain or discomfort.
During the surgery, carbon dioxide pumped inside the body to inflate the abdomen may get trapped against the diaphragm. Although most of the gas is let out, some of this gas can remain inside the body and irritate the diaphragm, which in turn can irritate the nerve endings in the shoulder, causing mild to moderate pain.
Most patients tend to feel a tingling sensation around the incision cuts. This is because, during the incisions, some small nerves also get cut. Over time, the nerves heal and the sensation and discomfort also subside. In case, there is an appearance of some redness, swelling or knot around the incision site, patients should contact their doctor.
Many women feel nauseous after laparoscopic surgery because of the anaesthesia given before the surgery. Natural remedies like ginger tea or medications provided by doctors can help alleviate the nausea. Some patients, find laying flat on their back to be a preventative as well.
The amount of pain and time of recovery after laparoscopy differs from individual to individual. Compared to traditional open surgery, laparoscopy is the least painful and complicated with quicker recovery.
Also, Read: Advantages of Laparoscopic Surgery