After Your Laparoscopy
When will I need to see my doctor again?
You’ll need to see your doctor about 2–6 weeks after your surgery to make sure you’re healing well. It’s important to keep this appointment even if you feel terrific. If you have endometriosis, a long term treatment plan will be made during this visit. (If you won’t be returning for your Post–Op appointment within 2 weeks, please call the GYN nurse to find out about any special medication instructions.)
Will I need to have my stitches removed?
Your stitches don’t need to be removed. They will dissolve on their own in about
2–6 weeks. Be sure to keep your stitches covered for the first 48 hours after your surgery. You may shower after that. Gently pat the stitches dry with a soft towel, and cover them with a small adhesive bandage. If you have any type of discharge, redness, swelling, or tenderness around the stitches, call the GYN nurse.
Will I have a scar?
Most incisions look red at first but fade over time so the scar is hardly noticeable. However, sometimes people develop a thicker type of scar that has extra fibrous tissue — this is called a “keloid scar”.
What can I do to make sure my incision heals well?
It takes up to a year for the incision to totally heal. It’s very important to keep your incision out of the sun, as this area will burn easily. Direct sunlight can also cause the incision to become darker. If you can’t help being out in the sun, be sure to use a sunscreen with a high (30+) SPF (sun protection factor) on the healed incision to reduce sun exposure.
Once you’re home recovering from your surgery, it’s important to rest, eat healthy foods, and keep your incision(s) clean. Our bodies are amazing, but everyone needs time to recover from surgery. Ask your doctor when you can participate in sports or other activities you do. Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will go over the discharge orders or Home Care Instructions with you.
After your surgery:
- DO NOT drive a car for 48 hours after your laparoscopy, because the anaesthesia causes drowsiness.
- You don’t need to stay in bed, but it’s best to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day.
- After 24 hours, there is no limit on your physical activity as long as you’re not taking narcotic medication.
- DO NOT drive, participate in sports, or use heavy equipment while you’re taking narcotic pain medication.
- You may take a shower or bath 2 days after your surgery.
- You may return to school or work when you feel ready (usually about 2 days after your surgery).
- You may swim in the ocean or in a swimming pool 2 days after your laparoscopy.
- You may swim in a lake or pond 2 weeks after your laparoscopy.
- You should avoid getting into a hot tub or jacuzzi for 2 weeks after your laparoscopy.
- It’s important to drink as much fluid as you did before the surgery.
- On your first day at home, have light liquids and foods such as apple juice, ginger ale, ice pops, soup, crackers, and toast to help prevent stomach upset.
- Avoid citrus juices such as orange juice and tomato juice. You may gradually add foods.
- By the second day after surgery, you should be able to return to your regular diet.
- Since most prescription pain medications cause constipation, it’s important to drink plenty of water, eat foods that contain fiber such as fruits and vegetables, and stay active. You may also take 1 capful of MiraLAX® (over–the–counter) in 8 ounces of fluid twice a day.
Pain and Treatment
- You may have soreness in your abdomen (belly) area.
- You may have shoulder pain. This is caused from trapped gas. The amount of discomfort can vary, but should go away within 48–72 hours. A heating pad should help.
- Your doctor will prescribe medicine to help relieve your abdominal (belly) pain.
- Take the prescription pain medicine for the first 48 hours as prescribed. After that, you may change to acetaminophen. This comes as a tablet, caplet, and liquid, and is used to relieve mild to moderate pain and fever. It’s very important to follow the directions on the package. Don’t take more of it, or take it more frequently than prescribed. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain anything you don’t understand.
- Some prescription medicine may cause nausea (feeling like you want to throw up) – if you experience this symptom, stop the medicine and switch to nonprescription acetaminophen.
- DO NOT use prescription pain medication (narcotics) for shoulder discomfort. Take acetaminophen and/or apply a heating pad.
- If you’re constipated, you may take 1 capful of MiraLAX® (over–the–counter) in 8 ounces of fluid twice a day.
- Call your primary care provider if you haven’t had a bowel movement within 3 days after surgery or if the MiraLAX® doesn’t work.
- You’ll have Band–Aids® over the small incisions. Remove the Band–Aids® 2 days after your surgery.
- Replace the Band–Aid® so that your jeans or other clothing won’t rub and irritate your stitches.
- Navel piercings: Jewelry may be replaced 24–48 hours after surgery.
- You may have black and blue areas around the incisions.
- Your stitches don’t need to be removed. They will dissolve within 2–6 weeks.
- You may have a slight discharge or spotting from your vagina that may last for 2 to 5 days.
- After your laparoscopy you may be tired and irritable. Use this time for rest and quiet activities.
- It will take time to heal, but you should feel better each day.
If you don’t have a scheduled Post–Op appointment with your doctor, be sure to call the GYN office at 617–355–7648 as soon as possible. You need to >be checked in 2–6 weeks to make sure that you’re healing well, and to discuss your treatment plan. If you have endometriosis you will need medical treatment after the surgey since there is no surgical cure for the disease.
When to call your doctor or nurse: If you follow the instructions in this booklet about your: activity, nutrition, hydration, pain treatment and bandage/dressing care, you should heal fast and not have any complications after your surgery. However, once in a while, mild complications happen.
Call the gyn office if you have:
- Heavy bleeding from your vagina or incision sites
- Redness, swelling or pus at the incision sites
- An upset stomach or vomiting after the first day
- A fever higher than 101°F (taken by mouth)
- Severe pain that doesn’t get better with pain medicine
Numbers to call if you HAVE any of the symptoms above:
Division of Gynecology: 617–355–7648
- Weekdays before 4 p.m.: Ask to speak with the GYN nurse.
- Weekdays after 4 p.m. and weekends and holidays: Call the Boston Children’s Hospital page operator, and ask for the gynecologist on call. The phone number for the page operator is 617–355–6369.