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Pelvic Laparoscopy: Before Your Surgery

Female pelvic organs

What is pelvic laparoscopy?

Pelvic laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee") is a type of surgery. It can help a doctor diagnose or treat a problem with your pelvic organs. These include the uterus, intestines, or bladder.

This kind of surgery uses very small cuts. These cuts are called incisions.

To do this surgery, a doctor puts a lighted tube through incisions in your belly. This tube is called a scope. It lets your doctor see your organs. Then the doctor inflates your belly with gas. The gas makes it easier and safer to see your organs. After putting special tools through the scope, the doctor can see or remove what is needed. Next, the doctor releases most of the gas from your belly and closes your incisions with stitches. These incisions leave scars that fade with time. You may also have some shoulder or back pain. This pain is caused by the gas your doctor used to inflate your belly to help see your organs better. The pain often lasts about 1 or 2 days.

You will probably be asleep during the surgery. But if you are awake, you may feel some stretching and discomfort in your belly. Either way, you will not feel any pain.

After the surgery, you will stay in the hospital for about 1 to 4 hours. You may be able to go back to work the next day. But some people need to rest for a few days to a few weeks before they can go back to work. It depends on the type of surgery you had, the type of work you do, and how you feel.

Some people need more surgeries or treatments after this surgery. It depends on what the doctor finds.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The surgery will take about 1 hour.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

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