Your recent laparoscopic surgery requires some special post hospital care. Many different types of laparoscopic procedures can be done and each laparoscopic procedure is different. Many patients go home the same day or the day after surgery. No muscles are actually cut so that your recovery is fairly complete within seven days or so. One curious side effect of laparoscopic surgery is pain under your right shoulder that comes from irritation of the underside of the diaphragm by the carbon dioxide used during the surgery. This pain in temporary and goes away within a few hours. Sometimes the carbon dioxide gas gets into the tissue under the skin of the abdomen, groin and even chest causing swelling. This too resolves within a few hours.
You may return to your normal diet as soon as you feel up to normal food. Usually you will be given liquids the night of surgery followed by a light diet. Sometimes a diet that you know won't upset your stomach goes better for the first day or so. Some patients have gas cramps from the surgery or an upset stomach from the turmoil or some new medicines -- these should pass within a day or so.
Your incision is sealed from outside bacteria within a few days of surgery. Nonetheless, you should protect it from dirt and soiling for the first ten days or so. You may shower 24 hours after surgery - no tub bathing for a week. The incisions may be tender for the first week and the edges should NOT be pulled apart. The steri-strips should be left on for at least 7 days, if possible. If a NEW area of redness or swelling occurs, please let us know.
Your physical activity is to be restricted, especially during the first week or so. During this time use the following guidelines:
- No lifting heavy objects (anything greater than 15 lbs).
- No driving a car.
- No strenuous exercise or severe straining.
- Please do not have sexual relations after the surgery until specifically told it is ok.
It is important to keep your bowels regular during the postoperative period. A bowel movement every other day is reasonable. Use a mild laxative if needed and call if you are having problems. (Milk of Magnesia 2-3 Tablespoons, or 2 Dulcolax tablets for example)
You should resume your pre-surgery medication unless told not to. You will be given some pain medication. Some pain medications can cause an upset stomach, nausea or a change in your bowel habits.
PROBLEMS YOU SHOULD REPORT TO US:
- Fevers over 100.5 Fahrenheit or chills.
- Constant drainage or discharge from one of the incisions.
- Pain or redness or swelling from one of the incisions.
You will need a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress and to discuss the findings from the biopsy reports (obviously, only if biopsies were done). Call for this appointment at the number above when you get home or from the phone in your hospital room before leaving. The follow-up time will depend on what is found during surgery. Usually we will see you back in 7-10 days.