Recovery

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What is the recovery time after my procedure?

This depends on the specific treatment that you undergoing. You will not be discharged until it is agreed that you are fit to go home.

After surgery you may feel tired and fatigued and it may take you a couple of weeks to recover fully before you are able to do everything that you were doing before surgery.

Who do I call if I am having problems after my surgery?

If you are experiencing any problems following any of the procedures or have any queries, then please contact Mr Lawes and he will be happy to help.

When can I resume my normal level of activity?

This really depends upon the extent of you surgery. The general rule should be to do as much as you feel comfortable with. Driving can be undertaken when you are able to perform an emergency stop safely and are not taking pain relief that may make you sleepy. Light work can normally be resumed after 2 weeks and heavy work (lifting more than 10 lbs) can be commenced after 3-4 weeks. Mr. Lawes will be able to guide you both before and after your operation so that you can make the necessary plans.

The Enhanced Recovery Programme

Following major abdominal surgery, patients have traditionally remained in hospital for somewhere between 1-2 weeks. Recently it has been shown that by altering how patients are managed both before and after surgery they can be safely discharged home much more quickly and in some case within 4-5 days. This has a number of benefits including, reducing the risk of post operative complication such as chest infection, blood clots, improved mobility and reduced muscle wasting leading to an earlier return to normal activity. Patients are now not expected to undergo surgery whilst completely starved and are encouraged to walk around and eat and drink as normally as possible directly after their operation. It should be remembered that not all patients are able to complete the enhanced recovery programme for a number reasons and should this be the case they will be allowed to recover more slowly at a pace that best suits them.
The following is a summary of what patients can typically expect from an enhanced recovery programme in conjunction with major colorectal operation;

Before surgery:

No bowel preparation (except for those undergoing rectal cancer surgery in which a temporary stoma is planned)
Eating and drinking normally up to 6 hours before surgery
4 high calorie drinks to be taken the night before surgery
2 high calorie drinks to be taken up to 2 hours before surgery

On the day of surgery:

You will have an epidural for pain control
You will have a catheter placed into your bladder
Undergoing a laparoscopic procedure may be beneficial
You will be encouraged to sit in a chair after the operation
You will be encouraged to drink as soon as possible afterwards

On the first day after your operation:

The epidural and catheter will remain for pain relief
You will be encouraged to drink more fluid including high energy drinks, soups, jelly ice cream etc.
You will be out of bed for most of the day and be encouraged to take several walks with help from the physiotherapists

On the second day after your operation:

The epidural and catheter will be removed and you will be switched to tablets for pain control
If you have tolerated the liquid diet from the previous day, you will be encouraged to eat and drink normally.
You will again be out of bed for most of the day and encouraged to increase you level of mobility

On the third day after your operation:

The plan usually continues as on the previous day

Discharge will be considered when both you and you surgeon are happy,
Your pain is well controlled
You are dinking and eating without any nausea
You have passed gas or had your bowels open
You are passing urine
You have adequate support at home

After discharge:

Your well being is of paramount importance and you should not go home if you have any concerns. If, when you are at home should you feel unwell or become anxious in any way you should be able to make immediate contact with the Mr. Lawes. This is easily achieved either by using the contact number given to you on discharge or calling switchboard at the hospital you were discharged from who will be able to contact him or one of his team. Studies have shown that a small number of people who have been discharged as part of the enhanced recovery programme need to come back into hospital either for a quick review or a short stay, however the vast majority are well and do not have any problems.