In Hospital Care
After surgery you will be taken from the operating room to recovery, an area in the operating suite where patients are monitored closely as they wake up from the general anaesthetic.
After you have initially recovered you will then be taken to your private room on the surgical ward. Until you are drinking satisfactorily you will receive intravenous fluids through your cannula. You may also be on antibiotics through the cannula to prevent any infection.
Shoulder tip pain is common after laparoscopic surgery and occurs in many patients for the first 24hours. It is due to distension by the gas used to inflate the abdominal cavity during surgery, Panadol and Nurofen are usually sufficient to relieve the pain but you will be given additional medication if required.
Once you are mobilising and your pain is well controlled with tablets you will be able to go home.
Self-care at Home
When you leave the hospital, you will be given a script for several medications, the nurses and pharmacist will go over the instructions with you.
You can restart your regular medications once you resume your diet. However, if you are taking blood thinners Dr Boccola will advise you when to recommence them.
Wound pain is usually mild however if you have undergone hernia repair and have mesh fixed to the inside of your abdominal wall the inflammation and healing around the mesh may last for several weeks. In the first week, pain relief medication you receive on discharge should be adequate. After this, if simple over the counter analgesia is not sufficient please contact Dr Boccola.
There will be several small incisions where the laparoscopic instruments were placed, the small incisions will be covered by waterproof dressings. Bruising around these incisions can occur and is not alarming, it will resolve over time. The sutures are buried under the skin and will dissolve over several weeks.
If there are small amounts of ooze from a wound site, the dressing can be removed and the wound washed in the shower. It can then be dried with a clean pad and a fresh dressing applied.
You may shower with the waterproof dressings and they can be removed 7 days after the procedure. Once the dressings are removed the wounds need to be kept clean and dry.
The Following Weeks
A normal diet can be resumed on the day of surgery for most operations that Dr Boccola performs. After anti-reflux surgery you will be discharged on a puree diet that lasts for 2 weeks before resuming solids.
It is common to have some bloating after abdominal surgery but this should return to normal once passing flatus and opening your bowels. It is important to avoid constipation by drinking plenty of fluids, walking and you may need a gentle laxative such as prune juice, Benefibre or Metamucil.
It takes 4-6 weeks for the incisions to heal completely. Regular exercise such as walking will help you recover faster and prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) but wait 4 weeks before vigorous exercise and 6 weeks before any heaving lifting.
You should not drive if you think you will be distracted by pain or you are taking pain relief stronger than Panadol and Nurofen. You should avoid airplane travels and long road trips for 2 weeks to reduce the risk of DVT.
If you notice swelling in your calf please contact our office immediately and an ultrasound scan of your leg will be arranged to assess for DVT. If you are short of breath or experience chest pain when breathing contact us directly and a CT scan of your chest will be arranged immediately to check for pulmonary embolism (blood clot on the lung).
Generally you can return to work 1-2 weeks after the operation. If your work requires heavy physical activity you may need another 2 weeks of recovery until all the soreness disappears from the abdominal wall
You will receive a phone call 1 week after surgery from our practice to check on how you are progressing.
A follow-up appointment with Dr Boccola will be made 2 weeks after your surgery. For anti-reflux operations a dietician review will also occur at this stage as you transition back to normal diet.
After you have fully recovered from surgery, you will continue to receive ongoing care from your GP.
Dr Boccola should be contacted if you have any of the following:
- Abdominal pain not controlled by oral tablets
- Swelling of the legs
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- If you are concerned regarding any symptoms that are not settling
In hours (our office) – 02 8711 0134
After hours – the switch board of the hospital where your operation was performed and ask to be transferred to Dr Boccola.