Complications of Laparoscopic Surgery
Before you read this, please read about Laparoscopic Surgery or Keyhole Surgery.
Pain – occurs with every operation. Efforts will be made to minimise pain. A local anaesthetic may be injected into the skin and local nerves to ease the pain for several hours after the operation. You will be given medication to control the pain and it is essential that you take the medication as instructed so you can move about and cough freely.
Sickness (vomiting) – Occasionally patients feel sick after a general anaesthetic. This generally doesn’t last more than 24 hours. If you feel sick after the operation, please tell the nurses or doctor and they will give you something to relieve it.
Bleeding can occur during or after the operation. It is common to get bruising after the operation into the area where the surgery was done. This can be marked and may cause a swelling around the wound but normally settles in a week or two.
Infection (SSI – Surgical Site Infection) – can occur in the surgical wound, which may need treatment with antibiotics. This usually settles after a few days. In cases of laparoscopic hernia repair, the mesh may become infected and may need more surgery.
Chest infection – early mobilization and stopping smoking will reduce this risk.
Scars – a small percentage of people have an inherited tendency to scar after any cut to the skin. These scars are unusually red and raised. This may cause an unsightly scar.
Blood clots (thrombosis) DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis
You are encouraged to get out of the bed soon after operation to prevent the formation of clots in the legs. The blood clots usually occur in the veins of the legs and therefore can move through the blood stream to the lungs causing breathing difficulties (embolus).
Depending on your risk to form blood clots, you will be given either compression stockings (TEDS- Thrombo – Embolic Deterrent Stockings) or heparin injections in the skin to thin the blood or both.
There is small risk of numbness over the scars. This is due to the nerves being cut during the operation. This usually recovers in due course of time.
Complications specific to Laparoscopic Surgery
Damage to internal organs-
This can occur when placing instruments into the tummy (abdomen). This is rare (risk 1 in 2,000 approximately). The risk is higher in patients who have had previous surgery on the tummy. If an injury does occur, open surgery may be needed, which involves a bigger cut. About one in three of these injuries are not apparent until after the surgery. So if you have pain after the surgery, which does not improve the day after the surgery or are feeling unwell, you must let your doctor know.
Surgical Emphysema (crackling sensation under the skin due to trapped gas). This occurs due to trapped gas under the skin; this settles quickly and is not serious. There is no need to release the trapped air, as it gets reabsorbed by the body.
Conversion from Keyhole to Open Surgery – In some cases, due to various reasons, it is not possible to do the operation by keyhole method and a conventional operation/ incision may be necessary. Should this happen it will entail staying in hospital for a longer.