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Laparoscopy (lap-er-oss-co-pee) is an operation that lets your doctor look inside your abdomen through a small incision in your bellybutton. Your doctor will look through an instrument called a laparoscope. It is a long metal tube connected to a video camera, magnifying glass and a light. The laparoscope is put into a small (1-2 inch) incision in or below your bellybutton. A type of air called carbon dioxide is used to help the surgeon see inside. You may have three additional small incisions on your belly depending on the procedure. These are less than 1/2 inch in size. They are used to place instruments in the belly so that the surgeon can perform your surgery. You will have stitches at the incision sites. These stitches will dissolve on their own. It may take 3-4 weeks for them to dissolve.
The laparoscopy may be done to find out what is causing your problem, or it may be done to treat your problem. Abdominal pain, a growth in the abdomen, or removal of the ovaries are reasons for a laparoscopy. Other small surgeries may be done using a laparoscope.
On the day of your surgery, please go to the Day Surgery Department at Brigham and Women's Hospital (75 Francis Street). Take the elevators to L1 and follow the signs for day surgery. You should arrive two hours in advance of your scheduled surgery. Upon arrival, check in with the receptionist. He or she will direct you to the pre-operative waiting area. You will remain in this waiting area until called for your surgery. Once you have been called for surgery, your family and friends will be directed to the family waiting area. This area provides a comfortable central location for family members to wait while surgery is underway.
You will be taken to an area where you will change into a hospital gown and helped onto a stretcher. Next, you will meet the anesthesia team. An intravenous needle will be placed in a vein. This will be used to administer medication to relieve anxiety and make you drowsy. You will then be moved into the operating room. The operating room is staffed with physicians, nurses and technicians. All will be involved with your care during surgery. After your surgery, you will be moved to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU or Recovery Room).
After surgery, you will be monitored closely. You will wake up in the recovery room where nurses will be checking your blood pressure and pulse frequently. Although you will feel like sleeping, occasionally you will be asked to cough and take deep breaths to keep your lungs clear. You may be receiving oxygen by facemask. If you feel cool, the nurse will give you extra blankets.
The nurses want to make you as comfortable as possible, so let them know how you are feeling. You will still have an intravenous (IV) tube in your arm or hand. If it feels uncomfortable, please tell your nurse. It will be removed before leaving the hospital. If you wish to know about any equipment or procedures, the staff will be happy to explain it to you. Once you have sufficiently recovered from surgery, you will be discharged.
After surgery, you may feel weak and tired from the anesthesia you received during the procedure. It may take a couple of days for the tired feeling to go away. You should continue to take deep breaths and cough every 3-4 hours while awake for the first 24 hours after surgery. Deep breathing opens the tubes going to your lungs and helps to clear the lungs of sputum (spit).
Dana Farber: 617-632-3669 Brigham and Women's: 617-732-8844
If it is after 4:30 p.m. or a weekend, please call the page operator at 617-732-6660 and have the gynecologic oncology fellow on call paged.
The final pathology report is usually sent out in 5-7 business days. To inquire about results, please call 617-732-8844.
Call 617-632-3669 a few days after the procedure to schedule a post-operative appointment.