Having an operation is not a small thing even if you go through a minimally invasive surgery (a surgery in which a small incision is made to carry out the operation). You probably know that minimally invasive surgeries (also known as laparoscopy) have a much smaller cut than open surgeries. You probably also know that fiber optics instruments and cameras are used to perform the operation by putting the camera and a high-intensity light into your body through the small cut the doctor has made and then the operation is performed. However, there are many things you do not know and should ask your doctor. Here are the 7 most important ones.
- What are the risks and benefits of a laparoscopy?
You may or may not know that it takes about two weeks only to recover from a laparoscopic surgery and that you may even be discharged from the hospital after 23 hours if the surgery goes well. But there are also the risks of complications such as not finding the peritoneal cavity (a space between two membranes that helps in separating the organs present in your abdominal cavity from your abdominal wall) and damaging other parts of your body. However, this risk is very low and happens only 0.3% of the times. You must discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor and perhaps consult a second opinion as well before going for a surgery.
- What can I do to prevent complications from arising?
There are a lot of common complications from surgery, which cannot be prevented even by opting for a laparoscopic surgery. These include injury to your blood vessels, formation of a hematoma and complications from anesthesia and drugs among other problems. Find out what you can do to prevent such complications by asking your doctor about the necessary steps.
- Can the surgery be avoided?
Many times doctors perform a diagnostic laparoscopy (a type of test performed to view the reproductive organs of females). A diagnostic laparoscopy can be avoided many times if your symptoms are not severe and you will not have to suffer the diagnostic laparoscopy procedure or diagnostic laparoscopy side effects.
Even other surgeries, sometimes, can be avoided so it is best that you go to a second doctor before you agree to the surgery. A hysteroscopy is a type of diagnostic laparoscopy procedure except that it only determines if a hysterectomy (an operation in which all the parts of a womb are removed) is needed or not. However, a hysteroscopy will still make you suffer from diagnostic laparoscopy side effects.
- Will a catheter be inserted?
Something you may not know or can forget to ask is if a catheter will be inserted at the time of operation. It is usually kept there 6 to 12 hours after the operation, but can sometimes be there for 24 hours as well. If you have a problem with this, please make sure the doctor knows as it will most likely be necessary in a laparoscopy.
- When to call the doctor after the surgery?
Be sure to establish and keep a good relationship with your doctor as you do not want him to stop picking up your calls. However, do call him if you are in urgent need of something such as your when your stitches start bleeding. This is something which you have to work out with your doctor.
- How much pain can I expect?
Pain tolerance varies from person to person and your doctor has to choose between short term pain or risk not curing the disease. Make sure your doctor knows how much pain you can tolerate so that he will be able to take appropriate steps to cure the disease.
Just like pain tolerance, this must also be communicated in advance with the doctor so that there is no confusion later on. Recovery time can vary depending on the strength of your immune system and the disease you suffered from for which the surgery was required.
Finally, you should communicate well with the doctor and make sure you are not afraid to ask him questions and be confident you are not bothering him.