1. Am I a candidate for laparoscopic surgery?
Most patients are candidates for laparoscopic surgery. If your surgeons deems laparoscopic approach a suitable approach for your problem he will discuss the remote possibility that your surgery may be performed through an open approach. This is usually due to excessive amount of adhesions from prior surgery or difficult anatomy. By choosing a surgeon specialized in minimally invasive surgery, you will minimize the chances of conversion to open surgery.
2. How long does it take to perform laparoscopic surgery?
Depending on the nature of surgery, your operation may take between 30 minutes to few hours. Although laparoscopic surgery may take slightly longer to perform compared to open surgery, recovery is much faster and hospital stay is significantly shorter.
3. How long is the hospital stay?
Depending on the type of surgery you may be discharged home on the day of surgery (like in gall bladder surgery) or the next day (like in hiatal hernia repair, fundoplication, Heller myotomy, incisional hernia repair, etc). Sometimes patients will spend longer (like in colon surgery) to resume bowel function before discharge. In general, hospital stay for laparoscopic surgery is significantly shorter than the stay for open surgery.
4. Can I drive myself home after surgery?
No. Because of anesthetic and pain medications, you will not be able to drive immediately after surgery.
5. What is the typical recovery time after surgery?
For most laparoscopic gastrointestinal operations, on the day of surgery most patients are able to return to their normal daily activities such as getting in and out of the bed, walking, going to the bathroom, climbing stairs, etc. Within one week many patients are able to return to work. For the first 6-8 weeks after surgery, patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities or lifting more than 20 lbs. After that you can resume more strenuous activities.
6. Can I shower or bathe after surgery?
You need to keep the surgical sites clean and dry (that means no showering or bathing except sponge baths) for the first two days after surgery. After that you may remove the bandages, shower, and expose the sites to water and soap. Within two weeks of surgery and after you complete you office visit with Dr. Zaré, you will be able to resume bathing.
7. Can I remove my bandages after surgery?
Yes. After 48 hours, you should remove you bandages but leave the steri strips underneath attached to the skin until your first office visit.