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Exploratory Laparoscopy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What do I need to know about 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.

How do I prepare for surgery?

  • Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • You may need blood tests, x-rays, and other tests.

What will happen during surgery?

  • General anesthesia may be given to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given regional anesthesia to numb the surgery area. You will be awake with regional anesthesia, but you should not feel pain.
  • 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.

What should I expect after surgery?

You will be taken to a recovery room, where healthcare providers will watch you closely. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after surgery to check the incisions.

  • You will be helped to walk around after surgery. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Movement helps prevent blood clots.
  • Drains may be used to remove blood and fluid from around your incision.
  • Medicine may be given to prevent or treat pain, nausea, or an infection caused by bacteria.

What are the risks of exploratory laparoscopy?

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.

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Further information

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