What to Expect After Laparoscopic Surgery

It’s important to be prepared and informed about what you may experience after you undergo laparoscopic surgery. Read about what you can expect in the days following your surgery.

Day 0 – Afternoon and Evening of Your Surgery Day

• You’ll begin your breathing and leg exercises, under the guidance of your occupational therapist.
• In most cases, you will be offered a clear liquid diet within hours of surgery. In rare cases—and typically when you have an existing bowel obstruction—you may wake up with a tube running from your nose into your stomach to empty your stomach contents.
• You’ll sit up in a chair and walk a short distance.

Day 1 – The First Day After Your Surgery

• You’ll be allowed thicker liquids and some solid foods today; be sure to only drink or eat as much as is comfortable.
• Avoid drinking carbonated drinks.
• If you feel nauseous, don’t eat or drink for about an hour and the nausea may subside. If it does not, request medication for nausea.
• You’ll begin taking your pain medication orally, rather than through an IV. Be sure to ask for another dose of medication as soon as your pain begins to return; try not to wait until you’re in severe pain.
• Continue doing your breathing exercises each hour.
• At least five times per day, make sure to get out of bed and walk as much as you can. Moving around provides many benefits, including reducing your pain, reducing muscle spasms, improving blood flow in your legs and helping your breathing.
• If you have a drain in your side, this will probably be removed today.

Day 2 – The Second Day After Your Surgery

• If you’ve been able to drink liquids, your intravenous fluids will be stopped today.
• You’ll be eating some solid food.
• You’ll continue to take oral pain medication.
• Continue to walk as much as possible and complete your exercises.
• You may be able to return home today.

Day 3 – The Third Day After Your Surgery

If you’re able to do everything from Day 2, you will likely be returning home today. If not, don’t worry. Everyone is different, and it’s important that you remain in the hospital as long as is necessary to help you on your road to a healthy recovery.