Q: What Type of Anesthesia Will Be Used?
A: Many procedures require general anesthesia while others may only require some sedation and local anesthesia. You will have a pre-operative interview with an anesthesiologist to review your medical history and discuss anesthesia options.
Q: What Happens the Day of Surgery?
A: You will report to a pre-operative nursing unit, where you will change into a hospital gown. A nurse will review your chart and confirm that all paperwork is in order and start an IV. Before any medications are administered, the surgeon will verify your name and the type of procedure you are having. You will then be taken to the operating room. After the appropriate form of anesthesia is administered, surgery will be performed.
Q: What Happens if the Procedure Cannot Be Performed or Completed Laparoscopically?
A: In some patients, a procedure is not able to be performed or completed using laparoscopic methods and a conversion to the traditional or open procedure in required. Some factors which may require conversion would include dense scar tissue from previous operations, inability to visualize the organs, bleeding problems, or larger tumors that cannot be safely removed with laparoscopic methods. It should be stressed that conversion to an open procedure is not a complication but a sound surgical judgment. The decision to convert is done on the basis of patient safety.
Q: What Complications Can Occur?
A: While complications can occur with any operation, it is important to realize the vast majority of procedures have few or no complications and patients return quickly to their normal activities. Potential complications that can occur with most any procedure include bleeding, infection, injury to adjacent organs and risks of anesthesia. Many procedures have other potential complications. For each procedure, we will review with you the risks, benefits, and alternatives to surgery.
Q: What Happens After Surgery?
A: Once the surgery is completed, you will be taken to a post-operative or recovery unit, where a nurse will monitor your progress. It is important that your bandages be kept clean and dry. Mild discomfort may occur at the incision site, so your surgeon may prescribe pain medication. Afterwards, you will be taken to the recovery room. When you leave the recovery unit, you will be given discharge instructions and any prescriptions you may need.
Q: When Do I Call the Doctor?
A: After surgery, be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following:
- Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
- Increasing abdominal swelling
- Pain that is not relieved by your medications
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Persistent cough or shortness of breath
- Purulent drainage (pus) from any incision
- Redness surrounding any of your incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
- You are unable to eat or drink liquids
Q: What Can I do Once I am at Home?
A: Activity levels will vary depending on the procedure. Typically, once you go home, you may do the following, but each situation differs and “at home” activities should be discussed with the surgeon.
- Activity: Walking is encouraged, and you may go upstairs. You can shower, but it is recommended that you do not soak in a tub for at least a week or more after surgery. In general, recovery should be progressive once the patient is at home. More strenuous activity will vary depending on the procedure, and the surgeon will discuss the timing of this with you prior to you going home.
- Driving: Most people can resume driving 5 to 7 days after surgery. You should not be taking pain medication when you drive. Talk to your surgeon about your specific situation.
- Diet: With most procedures, you can advance to your normal diet once at home. Your surgeon will talk to you if any changes are necessary.
- Bowel Function: It is common to get constipated after surgery, especially when taking pain medication. It is important to drink plenty of water and take in enough fiber to re-balance your system. The surgeon may advise you about means to help your bowel function post-operatively.
- Most patients can return to work within a week following most laparoscopic procedures depending on the nature of the job. Patients with administrative or desk jobs usually return sooner, while those involved in manual labor or heavy lifting may require a bit more time.
- Make sure to come to your follow-up appointment. If you are unsure of the time, please call the office.
Johns Creek Surgery, PC is located in Johns Creek, GA, and attracts patients from all over the metro Atlanta area and beyond including Duluth, Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Gainesville, Canton, and Marietta, GA. Our board certified surgeons, Dr. Christopher J. Hart,and Dr. William H. Johnson, medical procedures or surgeries that do not require an overnight stay.