Managing Pain After Robotic or Laparoscopic Abdominal Surgery

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This information explains ways to help manage pain after your laparoscopic abdominal surgery. You can do these along with or instead of taking pain medication.

After your surgery, you may have different types of pain. It’s normal to have pain near your incisions (surgical cuts). You may also feel bloated or have pain in different areas of your body, especially your shoulders. This is from the gas that was put into your abdomen (belly) during your surgery. The gas makes room for your surgeon to see. But, it also puts pressure on the inside of your abdomen and can move to other areas.

Managing Pain After Surgery

You will get pain medication after your surgery. If it doesn’t control your pain, tell your doctor or nurse. You can also do the following things to help:

  • Listen to music with headphones. If you own a pair of headphones that you like, bring them to the hospital. You’ll also get a pair at the hospital.
  • While you’re in bed:
    • Bend and straighten your legs.
    • Bend your knees and put your feet flat on the bed. With your legs together, gently rock your knees from side to side.
  • Try to start walking within 4 hours of your surgery. Walk every 1 to 2 hours while you’re awake, if you can. A staff member will help you.
  • Drink mint or ginger tea.
  • If you have shoulder or abdominal pain, ask a nurse for a hot pack to put on the painful area. Don’t put it directly on your skin.
  • Have quiet time (time alone in your room without interruptions).
  • Meditate. The videos below may help you. You can watch them online or on the TV in your hospital room.
  • Use acupressure. Acupressure is when you use your fingers to apply pressure to specific places on your body. To learn about acupressure, watch the video Acupressure for Pain and Headaches (www.mskcc.org/pe/acupressure_pain_headaches) online or on the TV in your hospital room.
  • Ask your caregiver to use touch therapy (massage) to help you. To learn about touch therapy, watch the video Touch Therapy for Caregivers (www.mskcc.org/videos/touch-therapy-caregivers) online or on the TV in your hospital room. Talk with a nurse before using touch therapy. They can tell you if you should avoid using it on any areas of your body.

You can do these while you’re in the hospital and after you’re discharged (leave the hospital). If your pain isn’t controlled after trying these things and taking pain medication, tell your doctor or nurse.

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