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It is easier for patients to recover from laparoscopy compared with regular abdominal surgery (often called "open" surgery) because the wounds from the incisions are so small. You will have a small straight scar (less than an inch long) wherever the instruments were inserted.

Sometimes a small amount of the gas used to expand the abdomen will remain after the surgery for a day or two, before it dissolves away. This can cause some shoulder pain. Depending on the type of operation your laparoscopy involved, you might also have some cramping in the pelvis or abdomen. Some laparoscopy procedures in the pelvis normally cause a small amount of bleeding through the vagina. Some patients experience some nausea from the medicines used for anesthesia or anxiety.

General anesthesia is safe for most patients, but it is estimated to result in major or minor complications in 3%-10% of people having surgery of all types. These complications are mostly heart and lung problems and infections. For laparoscopy, the risk of complications from anesthesia are smaller than average, because most surgeries done with laparoscopy are fairly simple and do not require you to have anesthesia for much longer than an hour.

From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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