WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Exploratory laparoscopy is surgery to look for causes of pain, abnormal growths, bleeding, or disease in your abdomen. During this surgery, small incisions are made in your abdomen. A small scope and tools are inserted through these incisions. A scope is a flexible tube with a light and camera on the end.
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Surgery may cause you to bleed or get an infection. The gas used during surgery may cause shoulder pain for a few days after surgery. If you have scar tissue, bleeding, or other problems, you may need open surgery. Organs such as your liver, lungs, and spleen could be damaged during surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your oxygen level is low or cannot be read.
You may be given medicine before surgery to make you feel sleepy and relaxed. Caregivers may put a blanket over you to keep you warm. You may need to wear tight elastic stockings or special boots on your legs. These help improve blood flow and prevent blood clots. You may have one of the following:
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
- Regional anesthesia: Medicine is injected to numb the body area where the surgery or procedure will be done. You will remain awake during the surgery or procedure.
Caregivers will clean your abdomen with soap and water. Sheets will be put over you to keep the surgery area clean. A laparoscope and other tools will be put into 3 or 4 small incisions made in your abdomen. After your operation, your incisions will be closed with stitches or staples. Adhesive strips or bandages may also be put over the incisions.
You will be taken to a recovery room, where caregivers will watch you closely. You may be taken to your hospital room if you are staying in the hospital, or you may be able to go home. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. A caregiver may remove the bandages soon after surgery to check the incisions.
- Activity: You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.
- Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
- You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
- Drains: These are thin rubber tubes put into your skin to drain fluid from around your incision. The drains are taken out when the incision stops draining.
- A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.
- Intake and output: Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
- Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Exploratory Laparoscopy (Inpatient Care)
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