What to Expect from Diagnostic Laparoscopy

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • Diagnostic laparoscopy normally only requires a 23-hour or less stay.
  • Expect some swelling and soreness around the surgical site during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery.
  • You may have some abdominal cramping, nausea and increased urination.
  • You may experience gas pains for about a day or so due to gas administered during the procedure.
  • This may extend into your upper abdomen and shoulder. Walking will help relieve this pressure.
  • You may notice a change in your bowel habits for a few days.
  • This surgery has a quick recovery with most patients feeling much better within the first few days after surgery.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • Most women feel better within the first week following surgery; however, do not lift, push or pull any heavy objects until after your doctor says it is OK.
  • Do not resume sexual intercourse until your doctor says it is OK.
  • Full recovery takes about two weeks to allow for internal healing.
  • Some women have vaginal bleeding for a month after surgery. This is normal.
  • Your cycle may be off a few weeks, and once it returns to normal, you may have heavier bleeding and more discomfort than usual.
  • Full recovery takes up to four weeks to allow for internal healing.

Diagnostic Laparoscopy Q&A

What does diagnostic laparoscopy involve?

The surgeon makes tiny incisions – one in the navel and three in the lower abdomen. The gynecologist will make one incision in the navel (belly button) where the gas is injected and the laparoscope is inserted.

Additional incisions are made to allow instruments necessary for diagnostic exploration. If the doctor finds a growth or abnormality that should be biopsied, it can be removed and sent to the lab for analysis. Your doctor may completely remove the growth, perhaps using a laser. The laparoscope is removed and dissolvable sutures are made to close the small incisions.

How many incisions are made?

Four tiny incisions are made – one in the navel and three addition sites in the lower abdomen to allow for insertion of the instruments.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients will normally go home within a few hours following surgery.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients are fully recovered in four weeks and can return to noraml duties, but check with your doctor if you have a physically demanding job that requires lifting or pushing heavy objects.