Surgery is not without pain and down time so it is not surprising that people experience shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery. Surgery is surgery, whether it is done on the operating table with your organs exposed, or done on the operating table with a few cuts on your gut. It still requires the skills of a surgeon, a scalpel and anesthesia.
Laparoscopic surgery is a modern surgical technique where incisions are made in the abdomen to perform operations on the body. It is also known as band-aid surgery or keyhole surgery and is as minimally invasive as possible. This kind of surgery requires a TV monitor for magnification and to guide the surgeons during the operation. There are two kinds of laparoscope used in surgery: a telescopic rod lens system that has a video camera, and a digital laparoscope where there is a charge-couple device attached at the end. There is also a fiber optic cable that is connected to a light source to light up the operating field. The abdomen is blown up like a balloon with carbon dioxide to elevate the abdominal wall so the surgeons can operate.
What Causes Shoulder Pain After Laparoscopic Surgery?
One of the downsides of this type of surgery is that not all of the carbon dioxide gas is removed. Because gas rises up, it can travel through the diaphragm and can exert pressure on the phrenic nerve, the nerve that connects the abdomen, the diaphragm and the cervical spine in the 3rd, 4th and 5th positions. This pressure can cause pain on the patient’s shoulders. One of the side effects of laparoscopic appendectomy is pain on the right shoulder. Shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery, like gastric bypass surgery is also common.
How Do You Treat Shoulder Pain After Laparoscopic Surgery?
Treating shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery is easy and manageable. Some doctors prescribe pain killers to treat shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery. Other physicians recommend the patient to take fluids like peppermint tea or ginger ale to lessen shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery. If the pain is bearable, the patient can wait it out because it disappears within a few days. Advantages of this type of surgery include less bleeding, smaller incision sites, and shorter hospital stay. Although you might experience shoulder pain after laparoscopic surgery, this is a quite common side effect which can disappear in a matter of days, so you might want to consider this one.
Anesthesia is used during a laparoscopic procedure, where the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas to allow the surgeon to visualize the reproductive organs. Patients may experience a sore throat and/or shoulder pain along with incision pain.