What should I pack in my hospital bag for a laparoscopy?

Our in-depth laparoscopy series continues, with a list of must-have items for your hospital bag. While you might not need everything on this list, it’s a helpful reminder of what to pack. Our endometriosis columnist Emma Kemsley has written this huge & incredibly helpful guide, to help anyone undergoing a laparoscopy. You can read part 1 and part 2 here.

A frequently asked question. There’s no need to overpack. A small bag with a few essentials is more than sufficient for a day surgery. Here is a list of what to pack for a laparoscopy:

Be sure to pack your admission letter!

This will have your name, NHS and hospital number. It’s helpful in case of any technical glitches at reception.

A loose nightdress or pyjamas

You will be swollen after surgery, so comfort is key.

Loose fitting shorts or joggers for your journey home

Your belly will be bloated and sensitive so best to keep clothes loose fitting.

A hoody or loose sweater

In my experience hospitals are either freezing cold or hotter than the sun. Be prepared with an extra layer just in case.

Clean underwear that is comfortable and not too tight

Opt for some big, comfortable knickers which are suitable for a sanitary towel.

Slippers or flip flops that don’t require fastening

Because who wants to walk on a hospital floor? You won’t want to bend to put shoes on so slipon shoes are advisable.

Toiletries that will make your life easier

Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, dry shampoo, hairbrush and wet wipes.

You might feel a little grotty after surgery so it’s nice to freshen up to make yourself feel better. Brushing your teeth will help with a dry mouth and remove the taste from the breathing tube during surgery. Ask the nurse if it’s OK to your brush teeth before doing so.

Sanitary towels and (optional) period knickers

You may experience bleeding or spotting after surgery. The hospital will provide sanitary pads, but they are HUGE! Best to take your own.

A book or magazine

Day surgery occasionally means you have to wait a couple of hours before your procedure, keep yourself occupied by reading.

Earphones (and backup earphones!)

Download a good podcast or listen to a mindful app while you wait for your procedure. It will also keep you occupied if you stay overnight. Note, signal in hospitals is temperamental so download in advance.

Phone charger and portable charger

Don’t run your phone battery low. You will need to call somebody to collect you and take you home.

Glasses and/or contact lenses

You’ll be asked to remove contact lenses for surgery. Have your glasses available and a nurse will hand them to you when you wake up.

Healthy snacks and drinks

You may be hungry after surgery having fasted, take some healthy snacks to eat if you’re feeling up to it. Try to take a food that will help you with nausea. For me, that’s salt and vinegar McCoys!

Tea bags

If you are fussy or prefer herbal tea, take your preferred choice with you. Most hospitals will have English Breakfast tea as standard. Peppermint tea (which some hospitals do have) is good for swelling and sickness.

See part 1 here and part 2 here.