Laparoscopic Surgery

Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Laparoscopic Surgery, Dr JFA Potgieter

Gynecologic laparoscopy is an increasingly widely used alternative to open surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, Dr. Potgieter makes several small incisions instead of one long one. Usually, each incision is no more than a few centimeters long. (That's why it's sometimes called keyhole surgery.) He inserts a tube through each opening, and the camera and surgical instruments go through those and performs the operation.

Some gynaecological laparoscopic surgeries include:

  • Removal of Ovarian cysts
  • Tubal Ligation
  • Hysterectomy
  • Diagnosis Examinations
  • Removal of Fibroids
  • Endometriosis Treatment

Laparoscopic surgeries have many benefits over conventional surgery. Incisions are smaller, so the recovery period is much shorter and there is minimal scarring. The length of the surgery is also much shorter, with an average of one to two hours per operation.

Although the surgery may be shorter than conventional operations, you will still need to prepare the same way; the patient is required to have a completely empty stomach for at least 24 hours before surgery and should also try to empty the bladder before the procedure starts.

After you are given anesthesia, a small incision is made in or below your navel or in another area of your abdomen. The laparoscope is inserted through this small incision. During the procedure, the abdomen is filled with a gas. Filling the abdomen with gas allows the pelvic reproductive organs to be seen more clearly. The camera attached to the laparoscope shows the pelvic organs on a screen. Other small incisions may be made in the abdomen for surgical instruments. Another instrument, called a uterine manipulator, may be inserted through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. This instrument is used to move the pelvic organs into view.

After the procedure, the instruments and gas are removed and the small incisions are closed. You will be moved to the recovery room and will feel sleepy for a few hours. You may have some nausea from the anesthesia. If you had outpatient surgery, you will need to stay in the recovery room until you can stand up without help and empty your bladder. You must have someone drive you home. You usually can go home the same day but more complex procedures, such as laparoscopic hysterectomy, may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

For a few days after the procedure, you may feel tired and have some discomfort. You may be sore around the incisions made in your abdomen and navel. The tube put in your throat to help you breathe during the surgery may give you a sore throat. Try throat lozenges or gargle with warm salt water. You may feel pain in your shoulder or back. This pain is from the small amount of gas used during the procedure that remains in your abdomen. It goes away on its own within a few hours or days.

Dr. Potgieter will let you know when you can get back to your normal activities. For minor procedures, it is often 1–2 days after the surgery. For more complex procedures, such as hysterectomy, it can take longer. You may be told to avoid heavy activity or exercise.

Contact Dr. Potgieter right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms after your procedure:

  • Fever
  • Pain that is severe or gets worse
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Redness, swelling, or discharge from the incision
  • Fainting
  • Inability to empty your bladder