In this blog post, we hear from Rachel. Rachel has had three keyhole surgeries now in the space of just a few years and one laparotomy. For someone with endometriosis, keyhole surgery will be quite common as a way to remove or destroy the deposits of endometriosis.
While Rachel’s were not due to endometriosis, it was a very similar operation. She tells us all about the real-life recovery from keyhole surgery so you can know what you may expect.
What is keyhole surgery?
keyhole surgery, also called Laparoscopy, is a type of surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to access the abdomen and pelvis. Keyhole, as the name suggests, means that there is a very small incision in the skin.
The benefits of keyhole surgery over open surgery include:
- Less bleeding after the procedure
- Faster recovery time and a shorter stay in hospital
- Less scarring
Recovering from Keyhole Surgery | Real-life diary
DAY 1 – Recovery from keyhole surgery
Waking up from anaesthetic is the same really no matter what type of surgery you have had. You feel a bit groggy, confused and very tired. I am usually freezing when I wake up. As a guess, I think they keep the recovery room very cold to stop bacteria breeding.
You usually aren’t in much pain at this point, as more than likely you would have been given some strong pain relief. I think it comes through the drip in your hand. From my experience, I haven’t woken up in pain, just sleepy and confused.
I usually feel pretty hungry when I wake up because you would have fasted for quite a few hours before your surgery. I had one keyhole surgery at 6 pm once, so had to fast all day and by the time I woke up, I was starving! They prefer to give you small, light meals so you can expect something like toast and tea. I have always taken it, so I’m not sure what happens if you aren’t hungry. They probably wouldn’t be too worried at first but they will keep suggesting it.
I have always been able to get up pretty much straight away when I wake up from surgery, at least once out of recovery and onto the ward. One thing they look for is your ability to do a wee. Usually, a nurse will suggest you have a wee.
Two of my surgeries have not included having a catheter but I have had a surgery where I had one. Lots of people worry about this, but honestly, it’s no bother at all. It doesn’t hurt. You don’t really notice it’s there and when they take it out it feels slightly odd, but not painful. I know everyone has a different experience and that this is something people worry about a lot, however, I feel really strongly it isn’t something to worry about.
Day one and you will usually be able to get out of bed and get dressed, talk, eat food etc. I went home the same day on one keyhole surgery and the next day on the other two. It’s quite common to go home the same day. Personally, I would prefer to go home the same day, as it’s very easy to pick up infections in hospitals and this did happen to me on one occasion so it made my recovery a little more difficult.
Day 2 – keyhole surgery recovery
You really should aim to be resting on the first few days of recovery.
Ideally, you would have someone around on day 2 to help with food, fetching you things you need and fluffing your pillows! If this really isn’t possible for you, I do think you would be okay, but it just wouldn’t be ideal.
Once my husband was on his way home to look after me and came down with norovirus all of a sudden on the motorway home. He couldn’t risk infecting me so had to go to a hotel and I had to wait all day for my mum to arrive, and I got by fine. It can be done.
For me, the worst thing about day two is the gas pains. When they do keyhole surgery they pump your stomach up with gas. This leads to it being trapped in really strange places, such as your shoulder. For me, it probably is the most painful thing about the whole process. Peppermint tea and moving around as much as you feel up to doing is really all that helps.
As it is only day 2 the anaesthetic will still very much be in your system, its totally normal to feel very tired. Take it easy! I really recommend saving up as many TV shows as you can to binge on during this time!
The next couple of days are pretty similar so I’m going to skip…
Day 5-7 – Recovery from keyhole surgery
By now, in my experience, I have been pretty much up and about. I do want to add here though I am an avid gym-goer and I eat very well and both of these things have a massive impact on your recovery. If you know you have an op coming up I would say to assist you in a faster recovery it’s a good idea to start eating well and doing some light exercise. Many people aren’t as mobile so take it easy and go at your own pace.
By now I would have been walking up to the shops/cafes (near my house) getting up and out of bed in the morning and feeling pretty much back to normal. The only thing I usually feel is still a bit confused at this point and quite emotional. I remember leaving my house for a walk to get some fresh air at about this point in my recovery once and I couldn’t for the life of me decide if I should go left or right out of my house. So I stood outside the front of my house and just cried! Eventually, I pulled myself together and took a left.
That’s pretty much it, as you can gather my recoveries have been quite straight forward and without complication. Take it easy and listen to your body and accept any help offered to you!
If you have any questions about recovering from keyhole surgery, then email Rachel – firstname.lastname@example.org