Health Library
Laparoscopy, After Surgery

What Happens After a Laparoscopy?

After a laparoscopy, you may experience:

  • Mild cramping, like a menstrual period
  • Light bleeding or spotting
  • Soreness or pain around the incisions (like after doing too many sit-ups)
  • Feeling tired
  • Sometimes feeling sick (nausea) from the medicines you had while asleep
  • Constipation (difficulty having a bowel movement)
  • Soreness or pain in the shoulder, chest, or breast area (due to air under the diaphragm)

Recommendations after Laparoscopy

  • You should rest on the day of surgery, and then over the next two days, slowly increase activities until you feel back to normal.
  • Do not eat a full meal until at least six hours after surgery. Start with sips of clear liquids (tea, apple juice, water). If you feel OK, you can eat a little more. No spicy or heavy foods (example: pizza, chili, burgers) for the first meal.
  • Take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), or Toradol as prescribed by your doctor to treat cramping, and / or Tylenol for pain around the incisions. Ask your doctor for the recommended doses.
  • Take narcotics (example: oxycodone) as prescribed by your doctor for severe pain.
  • You may be prescribed a stool softener to help with constipation. Take this every day until you are having regular, soft bowel movements without needing to strain.
  • Use a pad for any bleeding. Your doctor will tell you when it is okay to use tampons.
  • Keep the incision(s) dry for 24 hours (no water on incision); you may shower after that. Wash incisions gently with soap and water and pat dry.
  • Leave the clear adhesive dressing or plastic wrap on the incision for 24 hours. You may remove it after that.
  • If you have steri-strips (small white sterile bandages) on your incisions: they may fall off on their own. You may remove them if they have not fallen off by seven days after surgery.
  • You can go back to work or school in one week or sooner if you feel up to it. However, you should not do any heavy lifting (greater than 10 pounds) or strenuous activity until cleared by your surgeon.
  • Begin taking or keep taking any medicine that was prescribed before or after the surgery (including hormones or birth control pills).

A nurse will call you a few days after your procedure to see how you are feeling and to set up a follow-up appointment.

When to Call the Doctor

Call 513-636-9400 if you have:

  • Bleeding heavier than a menstrual period
  • Cramping or pain that is not relieved by prescribed pain medicines
  • Severe nausea and vomiting more than 24 hours after surgery
  • Fever more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)
  • Redness or drainage from the incisions

Last Updated 02/2024

Reviewed By Dr. Tulchinskaya

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