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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 the doctor puts special tools through the scope, he or she 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 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.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

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

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.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

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?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.