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What is laparoscopic surgery and how is it performed?
Laparoscopic surgery uses small incisions on the abdomen through which the surgeon passes a camera and instruments to complete a procedure. This type of surgery involves being placed under general anesthesia and using carbon dioxide gas to fill the abdomen.
While some techniques may differ depending upon the patient’s specific issues, in general, laparoscopic procedures involve three to four small incisions, typically between .5 centimeter to 1 centimeter in size. Most people will have dissolvable sutures placed under the skin and will not require wound care after surgery. The duration of the procedure depends upon the patient’s specific surgery.
Which gynecologic conditions are treated with laparoscopic surgery and who is a candidate?
Laparoscopic surgery can be used to treat both complex and simple pelvic issues. The following are examples of types of procedures that can often be safely performed via laparoscopy:
- Ovarian cystectomy (removal of ovarian cysts)
- Permanent sterilization (removal of the Fallopian tubes)
- Evaluation and removal of endometriosis
- Myomectomy (removal of fibroids)
- Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
What is the typical recovery for laparoscopic surgery?
Each patient is different and will have a different recovery course following laparoscopic surgery. However, most patients can safely go home after their laparoscopic procedure. In general, to be safely discharged home, patients need to demonstrate that their pain is well controlled and that they have urinated after surgery. At the UCLA Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, all patients who are discharged after surgery are given direct phone numbers for any overnight emergencies that may arise.
Patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery have a faster recovery. We anticipate that patients will be walking by their first night after surgery, and slowly regaining strength for normal functioning with each passing day.
Depending on the type of surgery that is performed, most people may return to fully normal activity within 2 to 6 weeks.
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