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Exploratory Laparoscopy


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.


The week before your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • You may need blood tests, x-rays, and other tests before surgery. Ask your healthcare provider for more information. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Take any medicine that your healthcare provider has given you before surgery exactly as ordered.
  • You may need to empty your bowel before surgery. This may help prevent a bowel infection after surgery. Ask if you need to do the following:
    • Eat high-fiber foods for 1 to 2 days before surgery. Examples are fruits, vegetables, and whole-wheat cereals and breads. Drink 6 to 8 (eight-ounce) cups of liquids each day, unless your healthcare provider tells you not to.
    • Take a laxative to help empty your bowel. This medicine may cause diarrhea.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. This healthcare provider will give you medicine to make you sleep during surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • You may be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will get medicine called anesthesia to prevent pain and keep you comfortable during surgery.
  • Healthcare providers will clean your abdomen with soap and water. A laparoscope and other small 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. It is normal to have bruises at the incision sites. The bruises should fade in about a week.

After surgery:

You are taken to a room where your heart and breathing will be monitored. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. A bandage may cover wounds to help prevent infection. You may be able to go home after some time passes. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. If you cannot go home, you will be taken to a hospital room.


  • You have a fever.
  • The problems for which you are having surgery get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.


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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.