How do I prepare for my pelvic laparoscopy?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your surgery can improve your comfort and outcome. 

You can prepare for a pelvic laparoscopy by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific surgery. Preoperative testing may include a chest X-ray, EKG (electrocardiogram), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
  • Losing excess weight before the surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan
  • Not eating or drinking before surgery as directed. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of surgery because you can choke on stomach contents during anesthesia.
  • Stopping smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners. 

Questions to ask your doctor

Preparing for a pelvic laparoscopy can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget to ask about some of their concerns during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before surgery and between appointments.

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include: 

  • Why do I need a pelvic laparoscopy? Are there any other options for diagnosing or treating my condition?
  • What will happen if you find a condition during the procedure that cannot be treated during the pelvic laparoscopy? Will you treat it right away with an open procedure or will I need to have another surgery later?
  • How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
  • What restrictions will I have after the surgery? When can I return to work and other activities? When can I resume sexual activity?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home? Will I need a ride home?
  • How should I take my medications? 
  • How will you treat my pain?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours. 

What can I expect after my pelvic laparoscopy?

Knowing what to expect after a pelvic laparoscopy can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.

How long will it take to recover?

After the surgery, you will stay briefly in the recovery room until you are fully alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable. The length of time varies depending on your age, general health, and the type of procedure, but generally takes an hour or two. If you had an outpatient procedure, you will likely be discharged home at this point. A hospital stay is required for more major procedures.

You may have a sore throat if a tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery. This is usually temporary, but tell your care team if you are uncomfortable.

Full recovery after pelvic laparoscopy is a gradual process. Recovery time varies depending on the procedure, type of anesthesia, your general health, age, and other factors. For more minor procedures, such as a tubal ligation, you may go back to school or work in one to two days. You will generally need to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and contact sports for about a month. 

Will I feel pain?

Pain control is important for healing and a smooth recovery. There will be discomfort after your pelvic laparoscopy. Your doctor will treat your pain so you are comfortable and can get the rest you need. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes because it may be a sign of a complication.

You might be drowsy if you have narcotic pain medications. You should not drive while you are taking narcotics. General anesthesia can also cause drowsiness for a day or so. You may also have some nausea. Tell a care team member if you are nauseated so it can be treated.&