Knowing what to expect after laparoscopy helps ease potential anxiety. During a laparoscopic procedure, a camera-like instrument is placed through an incision in the abdominal wall to examine organs or to assist with surgery. Numerous procedures are done in this manner, including surgeries on the digestive system or female reproductive organs. Doctors typically recommend a liquid diet after laparoscopy to give your digestive system time to heal. You'll generally work back up to a normal diet slowly.
Starting With Clear Liquids
The best foods to eat after laparoscopy are those easiest to digest. You may receive specific instructions before leaving the hospital. Typically, you'll follow a clear liquid diet for the first day. Good options for this phase include ice pops, plain gelatin, broths and juices such as apple, grape and cranberry. Begin with slow slips and pay attention to any digestive discomfort. Taking small sips of between 2 and 4 ounces helps prevent feeling too full.
Moving to Full Liquids
As your bowels start returning to normal, you can progress your diet. Only do so at the direction of your physician. Once on full liquids, you'll have more options to choose from. Good foods for this phase include all foods from the clear liquid phase, with the addition of foods such as yogurt, sherbet, milk, strained creamy soups and cream of rice cereal. Go slowly with dairy to assess your tolerance. If you're sensitive, choose lactose-free options. The consistency of foods on this phase must be smooth, so avoid foods with nuts and seeds.
Progressing to Soft Foods
Before returning to your normal diet, you'll likely progress to soft foods. Foods on this phase are soft in consistency, and you can puree them if necessary. The best options are finely ground or tender-cooked meat, fish and poultry; soft, mildly flavored cheeses; soft-boiled potatoes; smooth peanut butter; noncitrus canned or cooked fruit; and cooked or canned vegetables. To reduce digestive discomfort, avoid citrus fruits and gas-producing vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
Transitioning to a Regular Diet
Depending on the type of laparoscopy you have, you may go through only one or all of these dietary phases. For example, after laparoscopy for endometriosis you'll usually follow a liquid diet the first day after the procedure and return to your normal diet by the second day. Procedures involving the digestive tract may require focusing on easy-to-digest foods for a longer time. To reduce the complications of transitioning to a regular diet, take small bites avoid high-fat foods. Some prescription pain medications can cause constipation, so if you're taking any, try to drink enough fluids to keep your bowels moving. Follow your physician's diet orders carefully after a laparoscopic procedure and call the doctor's office if you have any questions or concerns.