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Laparoscopic Surgery for Digestive Problems

How Do I Prepare for Laparoscopic Surgery?

Before laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon will meet with you to answer any questions you may have. You will be asked questions about your health history and a general physical examination will be performed. Your intestine will require cleaning and you will be given a prescription for a laxative medicine to take the evening before the surgery.

All patients are generally asked to provide a blood sample. Depending on your age and general health, you may also have an ECG (electrocardiogram), a chest X-ray, lung function tests, or other tests. You may also need to meet with other doctors before surgery.

Finally, you will meet with an anesthesiologist, who will discuss the type of pain medication (anesthesia) you will be given for surgery, and you will learn about pain control after the operation.

The evening before surgery you will need to take the prescribed laxative medicine. It is important to follow the directions carefully and drink all of the laxative. This step will decrease your risk of developing an infection from bacteria normally present in the intestine.

Do not eat or drink anything by mouth after midnight the evening before surgery.

What Happens the Day of Laparoscopic Surgery?

An intravenous (IV) tube will be inserted into a vein in your arm to deliver medications and fluids before you have laparoscopic surgery. You will be taken to the operating room when it is available and ready.

When you arrive in the operating room, the nurses will help you onto the operating table. The anesthesiologist will inject medicine into your IV that will put you to sleep. After you are asleep, the nurses will clean your abdomen with antibacterial soap and cover you with sterile drapes.

Your surgeon will place a small port just below your bellybutton and advance the port into your abdominal cavity. This port is connected to sterile tubing and carbon dioxide is passed into the abdominal cavity through the tubing. The gas lifts the wall of your abdomen away from the organs below. This space will give your surgeon a better view of your abdominal cavity once the laparoscope is in place. The laparoscope is placed through the port and is connected to a video camera. The image your surgeon sees on the laparoscope is projected onto video monitors placed near the operating table.

Before starting the surgery, your surgeon will take a thorough look at your abdominal cavity to make sure that laparoscopy will be safe for you. Some reasons why laparoscopy may not be done include multiple adhesions (scar tissue from previous surgery), infection, or other abdominal diseases.

If your surgeon decides that laparoscopic surgery can be safely performed, additional small puncture incisions will be made, which will give your surgeon access to the abdominal cavity. The number and location of the incisions depend on the type of operation you are having.

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