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When should you seek medical advice after your laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy and operative laparoscopy is now a common surgical procedure, which is generally safe, effective and well tolerated. However, as with any surgical procedure there can be complications and failures. The risk of these is less than 1% (if you are low risk to begin with).
If within 24 hours of being discharged you have any of the following:
• severe abdominal pain
• vomiting (being sick),
• a temperature
• your abdomen (tummy) is getting more and more swollen and increasingly becoming more sore and tender to touch and it hurts badly when you cough
Please come back to the Emergency Department (ED) immediately for review. These symptoms may have been caused by inadvertent damage to your bowel or bladder which can occur after a
Shoulder tip pain
It is normal to experience a small amount of shoulder tip pain after a laparoscopy. However, if the shoulder tip pain is becoming worse to the point that it is severe come to ED immediately to be
Pain on passing urine or passing urine more frequently
This may be due to a urine infection; treatment is usually with a course of antibiotics.
Red and painful skin around your scars
This may be caused by a wound infection. Treatment is usually with a course of antibiotics. However, it is normal to have a small amount of bruising around the wound which will settle in a week or two.
A painful, red, swollen, hot leg or difficulty bearing weight on your legs
This may be caused by a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If you have shortness of breath, chest pain or cough up blood, it could be a sign that a blood clot has travelled to the lungs (pulmonary
embolus). If you have any of these symptoms, you should be reviewed by a doctor as an emergency. One of the biggest risks associated with air travel is DVT so a minimum of 10-14 days is recommended before air travel particularly after intra-abdominal surgery. Also, the head and lungs may be sensitive to pressure changes and there is free intra-abdominal air present in many patients after laparoscopy which can persist for up to a week.
You should expect a gradual improvement in your symptoms over time, if this is not the case you should seek medical advice.
Who should I contact if I am concerned about any of these symptoms?
In the first 24 hours you should seek advice from:
• The ED department.
After the first 24 hours you should contact:
• Your GP
• The Urgent Care Centre (01908 303030)
• NHS 111
Most people recover very well following surgery although complications can occur.
It can take longer to recover from a laparoscopy if:
• You had health problems before your surgery i.e. diabetes.
• If you smoke this can delay healing and increase your risk of a chest infection.
If you were overweight at the time of surgery as it takes longer to recover from anaesthesia and may increase the risk of complications such as infection and thrombosis (Blood clot).
• If there were any complications during your surgery.
Getting back to normal
Whilst it is important to take enough rest, you should start some of your normal daily activities as soon as you feel able unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise. Your nurse will advise you if your wound has been closed with skin glue or dissolvable stitches. After bathing pat dry and do not use powders or creams on the area until healed.
Most people will feel able to resume their previous activity levels by the second week following laparoscopy, any special instructions will be given on discharge. You should not drive a car for 48 hours due to the effect of anaesthetic gases. Check with your insurance company as they may have their own guidelines. You may need to avoid some activities including sports for a short period of time. This will depend on your surgery and so please ask when you are discharged if this applies to you.
Day Surgery Unit 01908 995468 (0700-2000)
Urgent Care Centre 01908 303030
Ward 21 01908 996448