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Laparoscopy Complications

Major Complications

There are also a number of possible major complications that can occur with laparoscopy. These are uncommon. However, your overall health will play a role in your likelihood of developing complications and how well you will recover from them.
For example, patients with severe heart disease, diabetes, obesity, previous abdominal surgeries, kidney or lung disease, or who abuse tobacco, have a higher chance of complications occurring than those who are healthier.
Major complications of laparoscopy include but are not limited to:
  • Serious bleeding
  • Serious infection
  • Organ damage including the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and/or ureters
  • Damage to the intestines -- including a perforation, or a hole, in its lining, or a burn injury
  • Blood vessel injury
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve injury
  • Hernias -- which may include a rupture of the incision or the diaphragm
  • Complications from the air placed in the abdomen, such as air going into a blood vessel or the space outside the lung
  • Reactions to medication or anesthesia
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
Depending on the individual situation, a major complication may lead to a longer stay, a blood transfusion, or a repeat surgery. A surgery such as this could possibly include immediate major abdominal surgery, a hysterectomy (which is the removal of the uterus), or, in rare instances, placement of a colostomy. Other major complications, in extreme cases, may lead to permanent disability, paralysis, or loss of life.
Major surgical complications, however, occur in less than 1 in 100 procedures. Loss of life in the United States from the procedure occurs in fewer than 5 out of 100,000 procedures. Therefore, this procedure is about six times safer than driving a car and about two to three times safer than being pregnant.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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