It may be surprising, but when patients learn they need a major procedure, one of the first reactions often is, “I don’t have time.”
Many patients carry extensive family and work responsibilities and feel they can’t afford the time for a lengthy post-surgery recovery. This especially is true of those facing cardiac surgery, who frequently require months of recovery time if their doctor performs traditional open-heart surgery.
Men who need prostate surgery frequently have different concerns: potential side effects, like incontinence and sexual dysfunction, leave many patients just as concerned about prostate surgery as prostate cancer. And many women who are faced with a hysterectomy choose to live with continual pelvic pain rather than go through the intense pain and recovery caused by open surgery’s long abdominal incision.
Concerns fade with robotic-assisted surgery. After heart surgery, patients are back to work in weeks, not months. Men who have prostate surgery typically experience minimal, if any side effects. And women no longer have to choose between living with pelvic pain and having major surgery.
So you have time for surgery – and more time for living.
Before Surgery – Physician Consultation
Before your scheduled surgery, you will have a consultation with the surgeon. At this point, you can ask questions such as:
- What physical limitations will I have after the operation, and when will I be able to resume activities such as working, activity and exercise?
- How safe is robotic-assisted surgery compared to my other options?
- How soon can I expect to be able to have sexual relations after surgery? (for prostatectomy and hysterectomy procedures)
The Day of Your Surgery
On the day of your surgery, you’ll get prepared just like you would for any other surgery. You can expect that:
- You will be prepped for surgery. This includes changing into a hospital gown; having intravenous (IV) lines started; having additional testing completed, if applicable; and and having body hair removed with surgical clippers at surgical incision site(s), if applicable.
- Your hospital chart will be reviewed with you several times by each of your healthcare providers (nurses, anesthesia providers, doctors, etc.) before surgery.
- Your family will be able to remain with you until it is time to go to the Operating Room.
After Your Surgery
Following your surgery:
- Gynecology, thoracic/lung and urology surgery patients are transferred to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (Recovery Room). You will be monitored closely while you awaken from general anesthesia and to ensure your post-operative pain is well controlled with pain medication. Your length of stay in the PACU will vary, depending on the type of your surgery. All attempts will be made to have your family visit you in the PACU if your stay becomes lengthy. You then will be transferred to a patient room.
- Cardiac/heart surgery patients are directly admitted to the Cardiac Surgery ICU/Recovery Room. You will stay in the Cardiac ICU for one to two days, then will be transferred to a cardiac surgery telemetry/step-down room down the hall.
You should begin to see and feel the benefits as you recover in your patient room. The amount of time you can expect to spend in a patient room will vary based on the procedure and how well your body reacts to the surgery. Generally:
- Gynecological (hysterectomy for reasons other than cancer) surgery patients may be discharged home the evening of surgery or the next day.
- Gynecological oncology (hysterectomy for cancer) surgery patients can expect to be in the hospital for one to two days.
- Prostatectomy/urological surgery patients can expect to be in the hospital for one to two days.
- Thoracic surgery patients can expect to be in the hospital for three to seven days.
- Cardiac surgery patients can expect to be in the hospital for three to seven days.
At the conclusion of your hospital stay, you will be discharged with instructions for caring for yourself at home. The smaller incisions will result in less pain, and it may be easier to move around when you get home.
And though you may feel pretty good pretty quickly, remember that internal organs and scars are still healing. It is important not to exert yourself beyond what the doctor recommends. Typically, this means:
- Gynecological (hysterectomy for reasons other than cancer) surgery patients are resuming daily activity in one to two weeks.
- Gynecological oncology (hysterectomy for cancer) surgery patients are resuming daily activity in one to two weeks.
- Prostatectomy/urological surgery patients are resuming daily activity in one to three weeks.
- Thoracic surgery patients are resuming daily activity in one to two weeks.
- Cardiac surgery patients are resuming daily activity in one to two weeks.