Surgery

Our Frequently Asked Questions section references accepted standard of practice and guidelines from regulatory and professional organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American College of Surgery (ACS), American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) As always, please check with your healthcare provider to determine their individual practices, guidelines and what they recommend for you.

 
What are the different approaches to Bariatric Surgery?
 
Bariatric surgery has been performed for many decades. For many of those years, the surgery was performed as an open procedure. An open procedure means a surgeon creates a long incision, or cut, opening up the patient. As medical technology evolved, laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery became a possibility. With laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon creates small incisions. Both approaches have similar success rates in reducing excess weight and improving or resolving co-morbidities.

Dr Fullum will perform bariatric surgery using the laparoscopic method. An important question for patients to ask is: How many minimally invasive versus open procedures has the surgeon performed? Read below to learn more about both procedures.

   
What is Laparoscopic or Minimally Invasive Surgery?
 
A laparoscopic operation involves making several small incisions "ports" for different medical devices to be used. There are, on average, four to six ports created. The devices, including a small video camera, are inserted through the ports. The surgeon uses a monitor to perform the procedure. Most laparoscopic surgeons believe this gives them a better view and excellent access to key body parts. Many patients are able to recover from the surgery in a fraction of the time that open procedures require. In fact, some return to work in little more than a week. Performing surgery laparoscopically lowers the chance of wound complications such as infection and hernia.

   
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. One method of pain management is, a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA), which allows you to give yourself a dose of pain medicine on demand. This method will be a part of your plan of care while in the hospital.
   
How long do I have to stay in the hospital?
 
Recognizing that each patient's recovery is individual our patients normal length of stay in the hospital (including the day of surgery) has been 1.5 days for laparoscopic gastric bypass and gastric banding. Criteria for discharge after your weight loss surgery will include how well you are tolerating liquids, managing your pain with something by mouth and your ability to move and take care of yourself personally.
   
Will the doctor leave a drain in after surgery?
 
Most patients in our program do not require a drain tube. However if the surgeon determines this is needed understand that this is a safety measure. Generally a drain tube is placed to allow any accumulated fluids to flow from the surgical wound. Usually it produces no more than minor discomfort and is removed a few days after the surgery.
   
If I have surgery, what can I expect when I wake up in the recovery room?
 
A Registered Nurse will be caring for you when you arrive in the post anesthesia care unit. Your vital signs including pain will be monitored frequently. Oxygen will be applied by mask or nasal canula until the oxygen level in your blood returns to the appropriate percent (92% and above). Initially the nurse will provide you with medication for your pain and nausea as prescribed by the surgeon and anesthesiologist. As you become more awake a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) or a self-administered pain management system, will be provided. You will have received written and verbal instructions on how to use this prior to the day of your surgery.
   
How soon will I be able to walk?
 
Within a few hours after your surgery you will be assisted by the nursing staff out of the bed and walking in your room. The next day you are expected to take several walks around the patient care unit. On leaving the hospital, you must be able to care for all your personal needs, but may need help with shopping, lifting and transportation for a couple of days.
   
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.

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