When Your Child Needs Laparoscopic Urologic Surgery
Your health care provider has suggested laparoscopic urologic surgery for
your child. This is to help diagnose or treat a problem in the urinary
tract. Laparoscopic surgery uses smaller incisions than "open"
surgery. This means your child is likely to have less pain and a faster recovery.
What Are the Benefits of Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a type of surgery that uses a
laparoscope (a long, thin, tubelike instrument with a camera and light). The scope
allows the surgeon to see and operate inside the belly (abdomen). Small
surgical instruments are also used. Laparoscopy often involves the following:
A short hospital stay (your child may even be able to go home the same day)
A faster recovery than with open surgery
Smaller scars on the skin
Less pain after the procedure
Getting Ready for the Procedure
Tell the surgeon about any medications your child takes. Include herbs,
supplements, and over-the-counter medications. You may need to have your
child stop taking certain medications, such as ibuprofen, before the surgery.
Discuss with the surgeon any allergies and health problems your child has.
Closely follow the instructions given to you about eating and drinking
before surgery. If you do not, the surgery may have to be postponed.
Meet with the child's
anesthesiologist before the surgery. He or she gives your child medication so your child
sleeps and does not feel pain during the surgery. The anesthesiologist
also monitors your child's heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen
levels during the procedure.
Before the Procedure
Your child will be given a mild sedative to help him or her relax. When
it's time for the procedure, your child will be given general anesthesia
(medication to help him or her sleep through the surgery). A soft, plastic
tube (catheter) may be put into the bladder to drain urine during or after surgery.
During the Procedure
Once your child is asleep, the laparoscope is passed through a small incision
made in the abdomen. The surgeon uses a small camera on the scope to see
images on a video monitor. Gas is used to inflate the abdomen to make
room for the surgeon to see and work. Surgical instruments are put through
the other small incisions when needed. Depending on what the surgeon finds,
he or she may be able to treat the problem at this time. In some cases,
a surgical robot helps with the surgery.
After the Procedure
Your child will be taken to a recovery room to recover from anesthesia.
You may be able to join your child at this time.
Nurses will care for and monitor your child during recovery.
Your child may feel some shoulder pain. This is due to irritation from
the gas used to inflate the abdomen.
Your child may feel some pain at the incision sites. Medication will be
given to ease any pain.
If a catheter was placed in the bladder, it may be removed before your
child goes home.
Your health care provider will tell you when it's safe for your child
to leave the hospital.
You will receive discharge instructions when it's time for your child
to leave the hospital. Follow these carefully. Make a follow-up appointment
with the doctor within the next
2-6 weeks. Your child's condition and future care will be discussed at
After surgery, call your child's health care provider if your child
has any of the following:
Chills or a fever of
F or higher
An incision site or sites that are red, swollen, draining, or bleeding
Severe abdominal pain or bloating
Nausea or vomiting
Refusal to eat
Pain that doesn't go away or that gets worse
Tips for Helping Your Child Prepare
Many hospitals have staff trained in helping children cope with their hospital
experience. This person is often a child life specialist. Ask your child's
health care provider for more information about this service. There are
also things you can do to help your child prepare for the procedure. The
best way to do this depends on your child's needs. Start with the
Use brief and simple terms to describe the procedure to your child and
why it's being done. Younger children tend to have a short attention
span, so do this shortly before the surgery. Older children can be given
more time to understand the procedure in advance.
Make sure your child understands which body parts will be involved in the
As best you can, describe how receiving anesthesia will feel. For instance,
the medication may be given as gas that comes out of a mask. The gas may
smell like bubble gum or another flavor. It will make your child sleepy
so he or she naps during the procedure.
Tell your child what he or she will likely see in the operating room during
the surgery. For instance, you could mention who will be there or that
the person giving your child medication to help your child nap will be
Allow your child to ask questions and answer these questions truthfully.
Your child may feel nervous or afraid. He or she may even cry. Let your
child know that you'll be nearby during the procedure.
Use play, if appropriate. With younger children, this can involve role-playing
with a child's favorite toy or object. With older children, it may
help to read books about what happens during the procedure.