Laparoscopic surgery is a convenient method of accessing structures in your abdomen. Even though it may be done on an outpatient basis, this surgery is still a complex procedure requiring an appropriate amount of recovery time.
Laparoscopy is less invasive than abdominal surgeries requiring a large incision to access the abdominal cavity, but you should still take care when returning to presurgery activities such as going to work or the gym. You may still suffer from the complications of being under general anesthesia, and internal incisions require time to heal.
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Exercise After Laparoscopy
You will likely begin to move your body as soon as you come out of anesthesia. Ankle pumps can be performed in bed to help improve circulation and reduce risk of blood clots after surgery. The more you move, the less risk you have of developing complications from laparoscopic surgery.
You will likely be groggy from anesthesia for up to 24 hours after your surgery. It's a good idea to have another person with you while walking to help prevent falls.
Get Up and Walk
Walk as soon as you feel up to being on your feet for longer periods. Have someone stand by you for the first day of your laparoscopy recovery in case you feel dizzy or weak.
The doctor may advise you to return to work within a week or two after surgery if your job requires only sitting at a desk and minimal walking. Your doctor most likely will advise you to progress your level of activity slowly with a goal of returning to your prior level of function within two weeks of your procedure.
Getting Back to the Gym
Return to the gym for light workouts, such as walking on a treadmill or elliptical trainer, as early as 10 days to two weeks postsurgery. Once your incisions are healed, consider adding swimming to your routine as a low-impact exercise.
Depending on the location of your laparoscopic scar and the type of laparoscopic surgery, attempting to lift heavy weights or pushing yourself back into your presurgery exercise program too quickly could interfere with the healing process.
Do not increase the intensity of your gym workouts for at least two weeks after laparoscopic surgery. Heavy lifting after laparoscopic surgery — defined as lifting more than 10 pounds — should also be avoided during this time frame. Increase the intensity or length of your workouts slowly each week to gradually return to your presurgery gym workouts of resistance training or running.
Read more: Complications After Laparoscopic Surgery
See a Doctor
Use caution when exercising after laparoscopy. Monitor your incisions for any sign of infection, including increased pain, redness, swelling or drainage that is thick or green. Thin, watery, reddish drainage is normal for the first few days after surgery, particularly during physical activity. Notify your doctor right away if you have a fever or are vomiting.
Recovery periods vary depending on the type of laparoscopic surgery performed. These instructions provide information on how to return to the gym and begin training after surgery, but they should not take precedence over your surgeon’s specific instructions.
- World Laparoscopy Hospital: Frequently Asked Questions About Laparoscopic Post-Operative Care
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- Google Books: The SAGES Manual of Perioperative Care in Minimally Invasive Surgery
- Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists: Information for You After a Laparoscopy
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