What can you expect when you undergo a laparoscopy?

My name is Emma Kemsley, and I write about endometriosis. I have stage 4 endometriosis, and this is my guide to undergoing a laparoscopy. You’ve finally received the date for your laparoscopy, and you are a bundle of nerves and excitement. You’ve got so many questions that need answers. Keep reading for my full guide on everything you need to know about a laparoscopy for endometriosis.

I’ve been where you are now. Searching the internet for answers of what to expect during a laparoscopy. Having experienced three complex endo surgeries (both NHS and private), and seven cycles of IVF, I am going to share with you everything I’ve learned, including what to pack in your hospital bag, what will happen and how you might feel afterwards.

How long will I wait for a laparoscopy?

How long is a piece of string? From referral to procedure, on average it takes between three to nine months to secure a laparoscopy date. However, it could be longer. Unfortunately, the pandemic has increased wait times for non-urgent surgeries.

To give you an example, I waited three months for my first laparoscopy which was considered urgent. My second wait time was over six months, so I paid privately. The third surgery, which was required to help the success of my IVF, the wait time was in excess of nine months, again, I paid privately in order to speed things up.

My top tip is to stay in touch with your gynaecologist’s secretary. Keep them updated of your situation and remind them you are still waiting. However, do not hound them! Occasionally a cancellation becomes available and they may be able to slot you in. Remember secretaries are busy and have to manage hundreds of patients in similar situations. Respect and manners go a long way.

Should I pay privately for a laparoscopy?

Private surgery is costly. Are you willing to pay thousands of pounds for something that can ultimately be done for free by our amazing NHS? No one can make the decision for you. It depends how badly your quality of life is being affected. Are you in pain every day? Or does pain only coincide with your cycle? Can you manage with painkillers for a few more months? Think wisely about your financial circumstance too. You don’t want to stretch yourself financially if it will create additional stress. Ask your NHS hospital for an estimation of wait time and enquire about private costs then write a pros and cons list before making your decision.

How much is a private laparoscopy?

A private laparoscopy can vary depending on the surgeon, hospital and your medical circumstance. On average it costs between £4,000-£5,000. Initial consultations cost between £125-£250.

How do I book a private laparoscopy?

It’s quite simple. You can book a consultation at a private clinic, simply by calling and asking for a particular surgeon. Research is key. Ensure you find an endometriosis clinic that is BSGE accredited. This means they have a dedicated surgeon who specialises in endometriosis. If you have a good relationship with your NHS consultant, you can ask if he/she works privately. Most do. It is useful to request your NHS notes and email them ahead of your private consultation.

What happens after a private surgery?

It’s likely a follow up will be included in the cost of your procedure, however on occasion it can incur an additional fee. You will need to be referred back to your GP. You can ask the private secretary to send your surgical notes to your GP, however, I have taken it upon myself to do this in the past. The notes will be filed and depending on your diagnosis you will be referred back to an NHS gynaecologist. You could request to be referred to the private consultant if he works within the NHS. In my experience, once I have paid for a private surgery, the response from the NHS is quicker. However, my surgeries have revealed extensive endo and adhesions that affect my nerves and organs; therefore, I have to be monitored frequently.

This is just part one! Check back tomorrow for more, including dealing with nerves and what to pack in your hospital bag.