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Laparoscopy - Anyone had one and willing to talk to me about it...wondering if I should go through with it. Really long post, sorry!

(34 Posts)
CrocodileDundee Sat 20-Oct-12 17:06:56

As the title says really I am booked in for a laparoscopy and I am starting to wonder if it is the right thing for me?!

Background is I was taken into hospital 3 times over the summer with pain in my lower right side, first time I was suspected appendicitis, I was x-rayed - all clear, given an ultra-sound scan which showed some fluid around my appendix, but as my blood didn't show any sign of infection I was nil by mouth on a drip for a few days given painkillers and then discharged as it wasn't progressing.

A few days later pain became bad again, taken back in this time there was talk of it being gynecological, burst ovarian cyst, blood in my tubes, mid-cycle pain were all discussed, given another ultrasound, all looked ok. Same as before nil by mouth for a few days drip and painkillers then sent home again and told often causes of stomach pains are often not found.

A few weeks later same story again, this time I was told I would get a gyny out-patient appointment.

Between then and now the pain comes and goes, but has never gotten as bad as those 3 times. I probably have at least a niggle most days, always in the exact same spot, I could actually draw a circle round a really small area that is effected. But I can still go to work, act normally with it, it's not terribly sore now, but I am always aware of it.

So last week I had my gyny out-patient appointment and the consultant thought perhaps endometriosis, but didn't really seem sure, but suggested a laparoscopy to be carried out, but said that after getting it done I could still be no further forward and that it came with loads of risks (dying under the anesthetic because I am over weight, losing a bowel etc) So I thought I would have some time to think about it, but the appointment came in this week and the op is quite soon.

Also apart from this I went for a smear last week and the nurse mentioned that the consultant must be pretty sure it was gyno related to "put you through all that" and suggested that if it wasn't they would probably do similar with my bowel next! I just feel like no one is actually sure what the problem is, but I suppose a process of elimination is the only way to find out?!

I am now unsure what to do, I feel like I should try to get to the bottom of it, but part of me is wondering if it is worth it as it is now not causing as much pain as it was, although I guess it could flair up again.

I'm also not sure how much recovery time would be needed after a laparoscopy, I've had a google and seen it vary from 2-8 weeks, so it would be good to hear from someone who has actually been through it who could tell me how they felt after it.

To complicate matters, I am a lone parent, doing a degree while working, and this is my final year, I have course work due 9 days after the procedure and an exam shortly after that, I am worried about failing these as a result, so near to the end. So any advice on recovery time or anything would be really helpful.

Thanks, sorry this is so long, I wasn't sure how much info to give!

orangeflutie Sat 20-Oct-12 17:29:03

Hi I've had three laparoscopies. It's been one a year for the last three years. They've been mainly to remove recurring ovarian cysts. However during the first one I was sterilised and during the last one I had my left ovary removed.

If you are having an investigative laparoscopy, you should recover fairly quickly. You will feel sore for a few days due to bruising and stitches. Usually three small incisions are made. Your stomach will also be swollen due to gas used to inflate it during surgery so you will probably get wind pain, usually referred to your shoulder tips for the first 24 hours. Peppermint tea helps with this. The hospital will also give you some strong pain relief immediately after surgery and to take home with you.

I would allow yourself 1-2 weeks for full recovery although you should find any pain lessens after about a week.

I would say go ahead and have it done but make sure you have someone to pick you up after the procedure as you will normally have had a general anaesthetic and also make sure you have shopping in and extra help for the first couple of days.

Good luck.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 20-Oct-12 17:46:09

A lap is usually done when endometriosis is suspected. In your case I would have this keyhole surgery.

I am no expert at all but it would appear to me (as an endo sufferer) that you have a lot of symptoms of endometriosis. Endo too can affect the bowels and intestines (some women who have been told they have IBS actually have endo instead).

Bloodwork usually appears normal with endometriosis as well although sometimes CA125 can be raised.

Ultrasound scans do NOT detect endometriosis if it is present as the endo deposits are so small. I think they have mucked you around to date actually and you should have been referred to the gynae far earlier than you have been. Any symptom that is cyclical in nature and gets worse up to and including menses should alert a gynae to the possibility of endo being present.

I have had such surgery (endo was found and lasered out) and was advised to take two days off work post operation. This was all I needed. The worst part I found about this surgery was the pain in the shoulders caused by the CO2 gas (that gas is used by the surgical team to get a better view of the organs) and that pain kicked in a day or so post op. Time and peppermints helped with this pain.

Can someone be it a friend or family member be around to help re giving you a lift home?. You will not be able to leave hospital on your own.

If endometriosis is the root cause your best option would be to actually find a consultant gynae with a specialist interest in this disease and to talk it through with this person prior to surgery. You do not want any general gynae messing around with endo as an inexperienced surgeon can miss it and then you would be still no further forward. You do not want any more surgery than necessary. I'd be asking them exactly how much experience he has had in treating such cases and what would happen if he saw endometriosis during laparoscopy.

You should also be given a follow up appt a week or so post op to discuss the findings of the lap. You should NOT be spoken to about this surgery when you are in the recovery room and half woozy as that is bad practice. I can give you some questions to ask at such a follow up appt if you so wish.

www.endo.org.uk is a useful website.

I would inform your tutor about this forthcoming op and tell them that you may need more time. I would hope they would be accommodating.

Best of luck with your exam!!.

CrocodileDundee Sat 20-Oct-12 18:52:18

Thanks both for replying, it has been really helpful.

I have an appointment next week that is expected to last for 3 hours for pre-op preparations where I will be given an opportunity to ask any questions so I will ask about the surgeon/consultants experience etc, I will try to think of all the things I want to say and maybe note them down. I was told if endo was found it would be treated, but if anything else was found it would not be treated before being discussed with me. I will also ask about how I will be given the results if it will be after the op or in a follow up appointment.

Would a laparoscopy usually just be day surgery then, even of endo was found and treated? This wasn't fully explained, and as usual google has no one definite answer.

I do feel like I have been mucked around a little bit, the third time I was admitted to hospital the Dr said "Either you are a very good actress or you are genuinely in pain..I'm not sure which yet!" I was in too much pain to answer him back, but I was so annoyed!

I'll will arrange someone to collect me and stay over the first night and I will make sure I get a big shop delivered before hand.

I am going to try to get an appointment to speak to my tutor on Monday, and I will need to speak to my boss too.

I hadn't considered discomfort from the gas, so that is helpful to know, I will stock up on mints and peppermint tea.

Off to have a look at the endo website, thank you.

Thanks again for your replies, I feel a little more reassured smile

orangeflutie Sat 20-Oct-12 21:47:30

Glad I've been of some helpsmile

In most cases laparoscopy is done as day surgery but you won't get a definite answer because hospital procedures vary and so do the consultants' views. It also depends on your reaction to surgery; for example how your body reacts to the anaesthetic.

The surgery I had last year was done as a day case and last month's laparoscopy was also due to be a day case. Unfortunately this time when I was just about to go home, DH asked if he could wheel me out to where the car was as it was a way away and he was worried it would be too far to walk. I felt a bit dizzy in the wheelchair and then sick. Next thing I knew I was lying down back in the recovery room with oxygen. I'd passed out in the wheelchair!
Basically every time I sat up the room would start to spin so I had to stay in overnight. I was so disappointed as I wanted to go home but it was agreed that I needed to stay in and sleep off the anaesthetic. I had to sleep in my day clothes as I had no PJs and had to ask for a toothbrush and paste. I also had to wait for a bed to become free on a ward. Finally got taken up to a ward at 11pm!

I have recovered well since with no ill effects though and my DH likes to tell the storysmile

CrocodileDundee Sun 21-Oct-12 12:48:20

Oh no poor you, that doesn't sound too good. Glad you recovered well since. I bet your DH got a bit of a shock!

I've only ever had a general anesthetic once and was ok after it, although I remember feeling a bit sick, but I know your body can react differently each time, but fingers crossed I would be able to get home that night.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 21-Oct-12 16:30:24

Glad to be of some help too.

Endometriosis was found and lasered out during my lap and I was sent home later that evening. The anaesthesia did make me feel groggy post op and it took a couple of hours post surgery for that to completely wear off (kept falling asleep to start with).

They wanted to make sure that I could eat and drink without problems and have bowel movements before they discharged me.

CrocodileDundee Mon 22-Oct-12 19:53:22

Great, thanks, that is good to know, I would like to be able to get home the same day.

Twice when I was in hospital over the summer I was only allowed home if I was able to eat something and keep it down, I am honestly not a fussy eater and the only thing I really cannot stomach is egg mayo sandwiches! Twice this was the only thing that was available grin I was so desperate to get home I was forcing them down and praying they would stay there!

I have started to get really bad left breast pain from the week before my period is due until a few days after, I am wondering if this is related in some way (not sure how really) as I never really had it until all the stomach issues started, or not. It seems to be a bit swollen today (period due soon) I'm wondering if I should get it checked out, but I am starting to feel like a complete hypochondriac now!

orangeflutie Mon 22-Oct-12 20:06:41

I hope you get home the same day too.

I really triedsmile. I drank lots including 2 x cups of tea and chose custard creams over a sandwich as my mouth was so dry. I dutifully ate three nearly dissolving them completely to get them down. Then I managed to go to the loo.

Unfortunately my blood pressure is naturally quite low and the GA and liquid morphine I was given lowered it too much causing me to feel dizzy and faint.

Also this time the surgery took place in the afternoon and I'd been quite a long time nil by mouth by then which didn't help.

BTW I have no idea if left breast pain is connected but I get it too. It's always about two weeks before my period starts. I would mention it even if it's not connected just to put your mind at rest.

CrocodileDundee Mon 22-Oct-12 20:22:09

It's such a horrible feeling forcing food down out of desperation isn't it.

I totally understand the dizziness especially as you had been nil by mouth for so long, too.

I had a local anesthetic to remove a cyst from my hand, but the procedure kept getting put back, so I had been nil by mouth for hours by the time I was taken, I was feeling a bit lightheaded anyway, but the local was injected into my hand and as I was being introduced to the surgeon who would be carrying out the procedure I fainted right onto the floor and onto his feet. When I came round my gown had also come undone and I had one boob exposed and couldn't fix myself as my hand had by this point gone completely numb! Not my finest moment! grin

orangeflutie Mon 22-Oct-12 21:31:23

Oh no! grin not good. I bet they've seen plenty of funny situations in their time though and at least next time you'll be too fast asleep to know about it.

CrocodileDundee Wed 31-Oct-12 21:18:43

Haha very true! smile

I had my pre-op assessment yesterday. I was told as my op would be done in the afternoon there is no chance I will get home the same day, so it will be an over-night stay. Feel quite disappointed about that, as after my stays in the summer, I actually hated being in hospital. Although I am assuming I will be in some kind of post-surgery ward rather than a crazy A&E waiting ward where people threaten to kill you in your sleep!! hmm

So I have to go in early next Wed and get a trace of my heart done before surgery and I'll also get to speak to the surgeon and also the anesthetist. Feeling a bit nervous, but also now just wanting to get it over and done with in the hope something can be found and treated.

digerd Thu 01-Nov-12 16:01:05

I've had 2 laparoscopies and mine were both 20 minutes ops. I didn't have great pain but had like a period and bled for 6 weeks. afterwards. They found nothing. Mine was investigative procedure for breakthrough bleeding on HRT, when my last period had been 5 years before.

Sebbywebby Thu 01-Nov-12 16:27:16

I could have written your post almost word for word! After almost a year of agonising lower right side pain that came and went I am just recovering from having my appendix removed.
The first time it happened I was in pain it was absolute agony in my lower right side, I managed to get to the GP who quickly sent me to hospital with suspected appendicitis. Had an ultrasound where the technician told me she could see something funny around my appendix. Consultants disagreed said they could not see anything and sent me home.
I then had ultrasounds on my Ovaries, Gall bladder and stomach again, countless appointments with GP's, All blaming IBS.
I had doctors dismiss me and be just awful to me, I was made to feel like I was making it up! finally I was referred me to a consultant for an ultrasound as well as a colonoscopy.
The day before the colonoscopy the ultrasound consultant found I had chronic appendicitis.
3 weeks ago I had my appendix removed via keyhole. I already feel so much better. Apparently my appendix was folded over and adhered itself to my intestine. So it was inflamed but not infected which is of course what the doctors are looking for if you have appendicitis.
I felt very sick when I came round and in all honesty the pain from the wind in my shoulders was worse than the incision pain, I was home that same day (op was at midday) and I have not looked back.
They have to tell you the risks but I am of the thinking that it is better to know and hopefully it will be the answer to your pain.
OP do PM me if you have any questions, it was all quite straightforward and I didn't even have a check up appointment afterwards.
I was in a very quiet post surgery day ward afterwards and would have been moved to a surgical ward if I stayed in, so no crazy A&E people.

digerd Fri 02-Nov-12 16:39:32

Old type anaesthetics, were very strong and I was always sick after eating soup hours afterwards - last one in 1982
But my 3 ops I had during 2000, 2 laps and a kneejob, I was fine and was told the anaes, are much better now than years ago.
I did sleep for ages afterwards, but was ravenous - rapid metabolic rate- and wolfed my food down soon after sleeping it off all 3 times, and was not dizzy or sick. People do react to them differently though.

CrocodileDundee Sun 04-Nov-12 14:49:03

Thanks both for your posts smile

Digerd, thank you, I will stock up on sanitary products, I didn't really think about bleeding afterward to be honest, which is stupid, I will pack some stuff in my hospital bag too.

Sebby, your post is really interesting, I have never been truly convinced that my appendix is not playing some part in the pain I am having, every single doc I have seen have said where I experience pain is exactly on my appendix site, but because it never gets horrendously bad and my blood always shows no sign of infection then it can't be. Interesting that yours was inflamed but not infected. I have twice had an ultrasound scan of the area both times there was fluid around the appendix, but there weren't anymore indicators to which made them think it would need to come out (apart from the pain!!)

I don't imagine that my appendix will be looked at all during the laparoscopy, but maybe if this finds nothing that should be my next thing to try?!

I am glad you are feeling better now, despite the discomfort of the op. I totally know where you are coming from with feeling like you are some kind of fraud!

To slightly complicate matters I was called up by the pre-op assessment unit the other day to say that a trace of my heart showed some abnormalities and the anesthetist wouldn't be happy to go ahead with the op before having a full ECG done, so I am booked in for that tomorrow. I am feeling a bit worried, but hoping it is nothing and they are just being over-cautious, but it is another thing to worry about! Hopefully I will know more tomorrow as the op is scheduled for Wednesday.

economistextra Sun 04-Nov-12 15:31:28

I had a laparoscopy. I'd say allow two weeks for recovery at most. The worst pain is the trapped gas that gets in your shoulder afterwards, stock up on painkillers! Other than that not too bad, its keyhole surgery so a fairly swift recovery smile good luck x

sashh Sun 04-Nov-12 22:59:20

YOur history sounds like mine, except I don't have an appendix so that was ruled out.

First trip to A and E - probably gall stones, go home
Second - admitted - possible ovarian cyst that has burst plus a UTI
Third - admitted - possibly kidney stone

Anyway, after all that had been ruled out they thought it might be adhesions from my appendix op so they did a laporoscopy - no lesions there but there was one on my liver that they removed and I have been pain free since.

It was a day case and I was fine afterwards.

Just reember to wear something very baggy - no jeans so you don't irritate the cuts. They used disolving stiches so I didn't even need to go back for that.

CrocodileDundee Mon 05-Nov-12 12:16:20

Thanks both, really helpful.

I plan to do some shopping today, so I will stock up on painkiller, sanitary towels and peppermint tea. I also have a food shop coming on Tuesday night mostly heavy things, soup and things for the freezer, so I am ok if I don't get out and about for a few days.

Sashh, good tip about not wearing jeans, as that is what I would have done, thanks! Glad they got to the bottom of your pain and you are feeling better now.

Had my ECG this morning and that turned out to be all fine, so all set for going in on Wednesday morning.

It's been good to hear stories of people being fine afterwards and getting out the same day. I am still hopeful that I might, although I have been pretty much told I wont. grin At least if I do I should be in a nicer ward and not full of drunk Saturday night people!

queenrollo Mon 05-Nov-12 12:50:37

Good luck for Weds.

I had a lap and dye earlier in the year. Initially it was to look at and treat a tubal problem but they also found some endo while they were there and treated that at the same time. The worst part for me post-op was that for a couple of days getting up and down (from the sofa, for the toilet etc) was very tender,but by day three I was practically back to normal albeit just taking things easy.

digerd Mon 05-Nov-12 13:49:28

I know that a Laparoscopy can see the ovaries, as that is also why I had it done. But what other organs they can see from the womb, I don't know.

Do you know why you will probably not go home the same day ? Mine was a simple short procedure they told me and normally it is a in/out same day, but I stayed overnight as I live on my own, and after op they want someone to be with you for 24 hours after the anaesthesia.

CrocodileDundee Tue 06-Nov-12 09:45:33

Thanks queenrollo 3 days doesn't seem so bad, that's good to hear smile

Digerd, I am not sure either, I have read about people that have had endo removed from the appendix and the bowel, but I am not sure if that is common, or if my surgeon will be looking out with the normal area. I think I get to speak to him tomorrow before the op so I will try to ask then if I can.

I am not really sure why I wont get home the same day, I was just told at my pre-op assessment that I wouldn't, that I would be in over-night. I am not sure if it is because the op is scheduled for late afternoon?! I was asked who I lived with and I said it was only me and my daughter at home but I had arranged for someone to stay with me and my mum lives practically across the road. The nurse made a note of this as I know that I wouldn't have been allowed home without another adult.

evenkeel Tue 06-Nov-12 10:04:23

I too think the op sounds like the best thing to do, to rule out/in whatever the problem is.

As another endo sufferer, it does sound very like endo to me - and it was the worst pain I've ever been in. A GP dismissed it as IBS and told me I was constipated (!); the surgeon told me after the laparoscopy that my pelvis was a mass of adhesions, which he cut, but that I had no 'active' endo so he hadn't lasered anything. Fast forward a year or so and I'd found an endo specialist who took one look at my scan and immediately gave me a full and expert assessment of my condition, plus a plan for treatment (and I did have active endo btw).

I now haven't had any pain at all for several years after having a Mirena fitted. I echo what was said upthread and if they do find endometriosis, you really must get referred to a specialist in the disease.

Good luck OP. I felt a bit delicate for a few days after the laparoscopy but honestly, didn't feel especially ill or in pain. I did stay overnight though, having been told it was a day-case. You may well feel rather woozy immediately after it.

CrocodileDundee Tue 06-Nov-12 15:43:47

Thanks Evenkeel, it's been quite interesting that the endo sufferers have said that they think it sounds like endo, I had assumed that as I only ever felt pain in the one area that it wouldn't be. Not sure why I assumed that?!

But you are right at least by tomorrow I will at least be one step forward and know either what it is, or what it isn't.

A quick google of the surgeon shows that he has written papers on endo so hopefully that means he will know what he is doing!! grin

Did you think I will be told the outcome of the surgery that day rather than have to wait for a follow up appointment? I am assuming so, but was wondering if that was always the case?

orangeflutie Tue 06-Nov-12 18:04:47

The only time I've had a follow up appointment is when I had surgery privately. My last two laps were on the NHS and I didn't have follow up appointments for either of them. It is a bit annoying that it's not standard practice. After the last two I was told what had been done shortly after surgery which is far from ideal really. I guess if you want a follow up appointment you have to request one.

Hope all goes well for you tomorrow x

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