Going Home after Laparoscopic/Robotic Surgery
What is laparoscopic or robotic surgery?
Laparoscopy/robotic surgery allows the doctor to look at your reproductive organs and other structures in your abdomen. It is done with a slender scope that is put in through a small incision near the navel. In laparoscopic surgery the surgeon directly operates the scope. In robotic surgery the surgeon controls the Da Vinci Robot who operates the scope. The surgery requires anesthesia. It can be used to find or treat disease.
What you can expect after surgery and at home
Care of Incision
- Two days after surgery you may remove the Band-Aids® or dressings. Under the Band-Aids®, there may be strips of tape which should be left on for one week. You may shower, letting the water run over the incisions. Pat dry. After a shower, place clean Band-Aids® over the incisions. Keep the incisions covered with Band-Aids® for two days.
- Do not soak in a tub, swim or scrub the incisions for one to two weeks.
- Do not apply any powders, ointments, or creams to the incision site.
- Your incisions should heal completely in 1-2 weeks. The stitches do not need to be removed as they will be absorbed.
- Check your incisions daily for signs of infection.
You may have some shoulder pain as a result of gas still present in your abdomen. For relief, lie down, and place pillows under your buttocks so that they are higher than your chest. Stay in this position for 5-15 minutes, and the pain should ease. It is normal to have some pain or discomfort. Pain pills will be prescribed for you. Follow the instructions for use given by your pharmacist. Often a pain pill taken at bedtime can help you to get a good night’s rest.
Vaginal bleeding is normal after this procedure. It varies in the amount and frequency. It may be similar to a light period; you may even notice some small clots. It is normal for you to notice this for up to 6 weeks after surgery. If you are soaking more than a pad an hour or you are otherwise concerned about the amount of bleeding please contact your surgeon’s office.
- Do not drive for the first 24 hours and during the time you are taking pain pills.
- Do not lift greater than 15 pounds for 4 weeks.
- If your job does not involve heavy physical labor, you may return to work as soon as you feel ready. Otherwise, check with your doctor.
- Do not have sexual intercourse, douche, use tampons, or insert anything into the vagina for 6 weeks—this is called pelvic rest.
If you feel sick to your stomach, do not eat a full meal. Start slowly with clear liquids such as tea, broth, or Jell-o. Add solid food to your diet as your stomach feels better. You may want to avoid fatty foods at first and slowly add them to your diet. Fatty foods include fried foods, creams, potato chips, pizza, and large servings of gravy or butter.
Narcotic pain relievers and decreased activity may cause constipation. A diet with enough fiber and water can help prevent or relieve constipation. Eat a balanced diet each day that includes:
- 6-8 (8-ounce) glasses of fluids a day (water, juice, tea, etc.)
- At least 4 servings of fruits and vegetables
- At least 4 servings of breads or cereals (2 of these servings should be whole grain)
Foods High in Fiber
Whole grain breads or crackers (whole wheat, dark rye, pumpernickel, oatmeal); breads or crackers with seeds; nut breads, bran muffins.
Bran cereals (100% bran, concentrated bran; cereals with nuts raisins, or seeds; “natural” cereals, granola, oatmeal, shredded wheat.
Cereal Products & Flour
Wheat germ, wheat whole wheat, buckwheat, corn, cornmeal, rice, wild rice, brown rice, barley.
Fresh or canned fruits, especially those with skin or seeds (apples, plums, peaches, tomatoes, berries); dried fruits.
Raw or cooked vegetables (not overcooked).
When to call your doctor
- Severe abdominal pain not relieved by pain pills
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Pain or burning with urination
- Redness or increasing tenderness around any of the incisions
- Pus-like (yellow, green or thick) drainage from the incision
- Fever (by mouth) greater than 100.4°F
- Excessive swelling or bleeding
- Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one sanitary napkin in one hour.
- Constipation—no bowel movement for greater than or equal to 3 days
If you have any questions or problems when you are home, please call:
Gynecology/Oncology Clinic: (608) 263-1548
After hours and weekends, the clinic number will connect you with the paging operator. Ask for the gynecology resident on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7090.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 02/05/2013
Copyright © 02/05/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7084
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