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Laparoscopic Surgery for Digestive Problems

What Happens the Day of Laparoscopic Surgery? continued...

If needed, one of these small incisions may be enlarged to enable your surgeon to remove the diseased section of intestine, or to create an anastomosis (connection) between two ends of your intestine.

If necessary, your surgeon will begin the removal of part of the intestine by closing the larger blood vessels serving the diseased section of the small or large intestine. Next, he or she will separate the fatty tissue that holds the intestine in place. Once the diseased section of intestine is freed from its supporting structures, it can be removed.

The procedure occasionally requires the creation of a temporary or permanent stoma, an opening of part of the intestine to the outside surface of the abdomen. The stoma acts as an artificial passageway through which stool (feces) can pass from the intestine to outside the body where it collects in an external pouch, which is attached to the stoma and must be worn at all times.

Most of the time, the surgeon will reconnect the two ends of intestines. The intestine can be rejoined in a number of ways. One method uses a stapling device that positions staples to join the ends of the intestine. Or, the surgeon may pull the intestinal ends up through one of the small incisions and stitch (suture) the ends together. Your surgeon will choose the best method at the time of your surgery. Finally, your surgeon will check that there is no bleeding, rinse out the abdominal cavity, release the gas from the abdomen, and close the small incisions.

When you wake up from the operation, you will be in a recovery room. You will have an oxygen mask covering your nose and mouth. This mask delivers a cool mist of oxygen that helps eliminate the remaining anesthesia from your system and soothes your throat. Your throat may be sore from the breathing tube that provided you with air and anesthetic gases during the operation, but this soreness usually subsides after a day or two.

Once you are more alert, the nurse may switch your oxygen delivery device to a nasal cannula, small plastic tubing that hooks over your ears and lies beneath your nose. Depending on the percentage of oxygen measured in your blood, you may need to keep the oxygen in place for a while. The nurse will check the amount of oxygen in your blood (oxygen saturation) by placing a soft clip on one of your fingers (pulse oximetry).

Pain medication will be given as you recover.

After your operation, the nurses will begin to document all the fluids that you drink and measure and collect any urine or fluids you produce, including those from tubes or drains placed during the operation.

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