Does Laparoscopic Surgery decrease the risk?
No. Laparoscopic operations carry the same risk as the procedure performed as an open operation. The benefits of laparoscopy are typically less discomfort, shorter hospital stay, earlier return to work and reduced scarring.
Will I have a lot of pain?
Every attempt is made to control pain after surgery to make it possible for you to move about quickly and become active. This helps avoid problems and speeds recovery. Often several drugs are used together to help manage your post-surgery pain. While you are still in the hospital, a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA), which allows you to give yourself a dose of pain medicine on demand, may be used by your physician. Various methods of pain control, depending on your type of surgical procedure, are available. Ask your surgeon about other pain management options.
How long do I have to stay in the hospital?
As long as it takes to be self-sufficient. Although it can vary, the hospital stay (including the day of surgery) can be 1-2 days for a laparoscopic band and 2-3 days for a laparoscopic gastric bypass.
Will the doctor leave a drain in after surgery?
Most patients will have a small tube to allow drainage of any accumulated fluids from the abdomen. This is a safety measure, and it is usually removed a few days after the surgery. Generally, it produces no more than minor discomfort.
If I have surgery, what can I expect when I wake up in the recovery room?
After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room. You will spend a few hours there as you wake up from the general anesthesia. You will then be moved to your room where your family can see you. During the first night you will be connected to a continuous oxygen saturation monitor. Obesity, general anesthesia, and preexisting lung conditions (asthma, sleep apnea) make it likely that you will need oxygen the first night to keep your saturation above 90%. The night of surgery you will be asked to walk. This is very important to help prevent blood clots in your legs from forming. This condition is called a deep venous thrombosis or DVT. Wearing the lower leg compression devices while in bed also prevents DVTs.
It is normal to feel uncomfortable during the first few days after surgery, but each day you will feel stronger and more active. You will be given pain medication to ease your discomfort. Your nurse will teach you how to use your PCA (patient controlled analgesia) pump. This allows you to give yourself pain medication through your IV as needed. There is no danger of overdosing, and it allows you to control the pain yourself.
Your mouth might feel dry the first 24 hours after surgery. This is usually due to the medication administered during anesthesia. You will be allowed to swab your mouth, but not to drink anything until the first day after surgery.
While you are in the hospital, your surgeon, surgical residents, and nurses will provide your medical care. You might be assigned nursing or medical students as well. Your surgeon will visit you daily, so have questions ready. You will be visited by a dietitian while in the hospital. They will provide a written quiz, which you will be asked to complete. It is a good idea to involve family members in learning about the diet after surgery.
How soon will I be able to walk?
Almost immediately after surgery doctors will require you to get up and move about. Patients are asked to walk or stand at the bedside on the night of surgery, take several walks the next day and thereafter. On leaving the hospital, you may be able to care for all your personal needs, but will need help with shopping, lifting and with transportation.
How soon can I drive?
For your own safety, you should not drive until you have stopped taking narcotic medications and can move quickly and alertly to stop your car, especially in an emergency. Usually this takes 7-14 days after surgery.