Questions About Your Surgical Procedure?


DISCLAIMER: This is in no way a replacement to discussing your procedure with your licensed physician. This is merely for educational benefit.

Click the procedure you have questions about:

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal using small incisions)

What does this procedure accomplish? Do I need my gallbladder?
This procedure removes your gallbladder. You do not need your gallbladder to live a regular life–people live full lives without their gallbladder and usually do not ever notice it has been removed.
What do I need to do before my operation?
To prepare for your operation, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this). For extra cleanliness, some specialists advocate a shower using antibacterial soap (your whole body–don’t forget your belly button) the night before your surgery.
How long will the surgery take?
The surgery itself usually takes just under an hour. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful surgery. No one can predict how long a surgery will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays during your day of surgery as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe surgical experience.
Where and what will my incisions look like?
These are the typical incision sites marked out:
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy incisions

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy incisions

What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your surgery, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during surgery and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During this time you will have machines breath for you (mechanical ventilator). A tube must be placed down your windpipe in order for the machine to assist you. This is why someone will ask you to look inside your mouth. Also, you may have catheters placed in order to monitor your bodily functions (Foley catheter, which is inserted into your urethra). During your surgery you will be given medications to reduce pain and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished? What do I do at home?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your throat because of the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe–this should get better in a day or two. Expect some soreness over your abdomen and sometimes in your shoulders. This will all get better with time. If all goes well, you should be eating the evening of or next day after surgery and likely go home as well. For the first two weeks, eat a diet low in fat as it will take your body time to adjust. With your wounds, you may shower at home with regular soap and water but do not soak in a pool or tub. These wounds are usually closed with absorbable suture. You can expect to get back to work in usually half a week. No heavy lifting for at least 4 weeks greater than 15 pounds. Your doctor can write you a note saying you may return to work in a few days with no strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks. And finally, please follow up with your doctor as instructed so we can make sure your recovery is going well.
Common problems after surgery I may experience?
Nausea/vomiting:
This is very common and likely caused by your body’s response to the anesthesia medications used during surgery. This will get better in a few hours. If you’re a few days out and nauseas after eating, you may be taking in too much fat too soon. Try a low fat diet for at least 2 weeks after surgery to allow your body to adjust to not having a gallbladder.

Back/abdominal/shoulder pain:
This will get better in a day or two. This is usually due to air trapped under your diaphragm which will slowly absorb over time.

Sore throat:
This will get better in a day or two. This is due to the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe while under anesthesia.

Leaking/bleeding wounds:
Incision sites may weep a little. Do not be startled if it appears reddish. This is usually the medication used to numb the area leaking out–this will stop. A little bleeding may be encountered as well, but this is expected.

Stitches/suture sticking out:
Wounds are usually closed with absorbable sutures that dissolve after about 2 to 3 months. If a piece of suture is bothering you, make an appointment to see your physician to address it properly. Do not cut it out as this may cause wound complications.

Laparoscopic Appendectomy (appendix removal through small incisions)

What does this procedure accomplish? Do I need my appendix?
This procedure removes your appendix. You do not need your appendix to live a regular life–people live full lives without their appendix and usually do not ever notice it has been removed.
What do I need to do before my operation?
To prepare for your operation, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this). The exception to NPO is when your appendix needs to be removed emergently due to appendicitis.
How long will the surgery take?
The surgery itself usually takes just under an hour. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful surgery. No one can predict how long a surgery will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays during your day of surgery as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe surgical experience.
Where and what will my incisions look like?
These are the typical incision sites marked out:
Laparoscopic appendectomy incisions

Laparoscopic appendectomy incisions

What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your surgery, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during surgery and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During this time you will have machines breath for you (mechanical ventilator). A tube must be placed down your windpipe in order for the machine to assist you. This is why someone will ask you to look inside your mouth. Also, you will have catheters placed in order to monitor your bodily functions (Foley catheter, which is inserted into your urethra). During your surgery you will be given medications to reduce pain and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished? What do I do at home?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your throat because of the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe–this should get better in a day or two. Expect some soreness over your abdomen and sometimes in your shoulders. This will all get better with time. If all goes well, you should be eating the evening of or next day after surgery and likely go home as well. You may return to a regular, balanced diet at home. With your wounds, you may shower at home with regular soap and water but do not soak in a pool or tub. These wounds are usually closed with absorbable suture. You can expect to get back to work in usually half a week. No heavy lifting for at least 4 weeks greater than 15 pounds. We can write you a note saying you may return to work in a few days with no strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks. And finally, please follow up with us as instructed so we can make sure your recovery is going well.
Common problems after surgery I may experience?
Nausea/vomiting:
This is very common and likely caused by your body’s response to the anesthesia medications used during surgery. This will get better in a few hours.

Back/abdominal/shoulder pain:
This will get better in a day or two. This is usually due to air trapped under your diaphragm which will slowly absorb over time.

Sore throat:
This will get better in a day or two. This is due to the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe while under anesthesia.

Leaking/bleeding wounds:
Incision sites may weep a little. Do not be startled if it appears reddish. This is usually the medication used to numb the area leaking out–this will stop. A little bleeding may be encountered as well, but this is expected.

Stitches/suture sticking out:
Wounds are usually closed with absorbable sutures that dissolve after about 2 to 3 months. If a piece of suture is bothering you, make an appointment to see your physician to address it properly. Do not cut it out as this may cause wound complications.

Colonoscopy (looking into your colon with a camera)

What is this procedure for? Will I be asleep and comfortable?
Colonoscopy is a procedure where we insert a long tube with a camera into your backside and through your large intestines (colon). Don’t worry! You will be sedated and comfortable during this procedure. Colonoscopy allows us to see what is inside your colon and make appropriate diagnosis. Biopsies of the lining of your colon may also be performed during your procedure. Xrays or CAT scans can not provide the level of detail colonoscopy can.
How do I prepare for my procedure? What is a bowel prep?
To prepare for your procedure, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this). You will also need a bowel prep the night before. This usually consists of drinking a large amount of liquid that forces you to have multiple bowel movements. What this does is empty your large intestines and allow us to see everything inside your colon. The bowel prep is VERY IMPORTANT as it allows us to see better–if you have not had a complete bowel prep (finish all the medication) then we may not be able to see all of your colon.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure itself usually takes around 30 minutes. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful procedure. No one can predict how long a procedure will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe experience.
What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your procedure, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During your procedure you will be given medications to reduce discomfort and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your abdomen and feel bloated but this will improve within a few hours. You may resume a balanced diet once you feel better. It is important to follow up with your physician in order to fully discuss your results.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy/EGD (looking into your stomach with a camera)

What is this procedure for? Will I be asleep and comfortable?
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a procedure where we insert a long tube with a camera at the end of it into your mouth, stomach, and very first portion of your small intestines. Don’t worry! You will be sedated and comfortable during this procedure. EGD allows us to see what is inside your esophagus and stomach to make an appropriate diagnosis. Biopsies of the lining of your esophagus, stomach, or small intestines may be taken during your procedure. Xrays or CAT scans can not provide the level of detail colonoscopy can.
How do I prepare for my procedure?
To prepare for your procedure, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this).
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure itself usually takes around 30 minutes. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful procedure. No one can predict how long a procedure will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe experience.
What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your procedure, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During your procedure you will be given medications to reduce discomfort and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your abdomen and feel bloated but this will improve within a few hours. You may also experience a sore throat or even spit up a small amount of old blood–this is normal. You may resume a balanced diet once you feel better. It is important to follow up with your physician in order to fully discuss your results.

Laparoscopic Herniorrhaphy (inguinal hernia repair through small incisions)

What does this procedure accomplish?
This procedure repairs your hernia. Thousands of people safely undergo this procedure daily.
What do I need to do before my operation?
To prepare for your operation, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this). For extra cleanliness, some specialists advocate a shower using antibacterial soap (your whole body–don’t forget your belly button) the night before your surgery.
How long will the surgery take?
The surgery itself usually takes just under an hour. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful surgery. No one can predict how long a surgery will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays during your day of surgery as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe surgical experience.
Where and what will my incisions look like?
These are the typical incision sites marked out:
What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your surgery, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during surgery and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During this time you will have machines breath for you (mechanical ventilator). A tube must be placed down your windpipe in order for the machine to assist you. This is why someone will ask you to look inside your mouth. Also, you will have catheters placed in order to monitor your bodily functions (Foley catheter, which is inserted into your urethra). During your surgery you will be given medications to reduce pain and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished? What do I do at home?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your throat because of the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe–this should get better in a day or two. Expect some soreness over your abdomen and groin area. This will all get better with time. If all goes well, you should be eating the evening of or next day after surgery and likely go home as well. You may return to a regular, balanced diet at home. With your wounds, you may shower at home with regular soap and water but do not soak in a pool or tub. These wounds are usually closed with absorbable suture. You can expect to get back to work in usually half a week. No heavy lifting for at least 4 weeks greater than 15 pounds. We can write you a note saying you may return to work in a few days with no strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks. And finally, please follow up with us as instructed so we can make sure your recovery is going well.
Common problems after surgery I may experience?
Nausea/vomiting:
This is very common and likely caused by your body’s response to the anesthesia medications used during surgery. This will get better in a few hours.

Bruising/numbness in groin or testicular area:
This is common and due to the manipulation of tissues/vessels/nerves in the area. This should get better with time. Make sure you go to your follow up appointment so you can be observed and examined.

Sore throat:
This will get better in a day or two. This is due to the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe while under anesthesia.

Leaking/bleeding wounds:
Incision sites may weep a little. Do not be startled if it appears reddish. This is usually the medication used to numb the area leaking out–this will stop. A little bleeding may be encountered as well, but this is expected.

Stitches/suture sticking out:
Wounds are usually closed with absorbable sutures that dissolve after about 2 to 3 months. If a piece of suture is bothering you, make an appointment to see your physician to address it properly. Do not cut it out as this may cause wound complications.

Open Herniorrhaphy (inguinal hernia repair through one longer incision)

What does this procedure accomplish?
This procedure repairs your hernia. Thousands of people safely undergo this procedure daily. There are many reasons why laparoscopic (camera surgery through small incisions) repair isn’t possible, for example if you’ve had previous surgeries or need emergent repair.
What do I need to do before my operation?
To prepare for your operation, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this). For extra cleanliness, some specialists advocate a shower using antibacterial soap (your whole body–don’t forget your belly button) the night before your surgery.
How long will the surgery take?
The surgery itself usually takes just under an hour. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful surgery. No one can predict how long a surgery will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays during your day of surgery as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe surgical experience.
Where and what will my incisions look like?
These are the typical incision site marked out:
What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your surgery, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during surgery and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During this time you will have machines breath for you (mechanical ventilator). A tube must be placed down your windpipe in order for the machine to assist you. This is why someone will ask you to look inside your mouth. Also, you will have catheters placed in order to monitor your bodily functions (Foley catheter, which is inserted into your urethra). During your surgery you will be given medications to reduce pain and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished? What do I do at home?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your throat because of the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe–this should get better in a day or two. Expect some soreness over your abdomen and groin area. This will all get better with time. If all goes well, you should be eating the evening of or next day after surgery and likely go home as well. You may return to a regular, balanced diet at home. With your wounds, you may shower at home with regular soap and water but do not soak in a pool or tub. You can expect to get back to work in usually half a week. No heavy lifting for at least 4 weeks greater than 15 pounds. We can write you a note saying you may return to work in a few days with no strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks. And finally, please follow up with us as instructed so we can make sure your recovery is going well.
Common problems after surgery I may experience?
Nausea/vomiting:
This is very common and likely caused by your body’s response to the anesthesia medications used during surgery. This will get better in a few hours.

Bruising/numbness in groin or testicular area:
This is common and due to the manipulation of tissues/vessels/nerves in the area. This should get better with time. Make sure you go to your follow up appointment so you can be observed and examined.

Sore throat:
This will get better in a day or two. This is due to the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe while under anesthesia.

Leaking/bleeding wounds:
Incision sites may weep a little. Do not be startled if it appears reddish. This is usually the medication used to numb the area leaking out–this will stop. A little bleeding may be encountered as well, but this is expected.

Incision and Drainage/I&D or Wound Debridement (cleaning out infected or dirty wounds)

What does this procedure accomplish?
This procedure cleans out infected or dirty wounds. This is necessary in order to help the body heal from the initial insult. You may wake up to discover special gauze has been packed or applied over your wound. Some situations there may be a device called a Wound Vac applied to your wound. This has a long tube attached to a special suction device.
What do I need to do before my operation?
To prepare for your operation, you must remain NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 8 hours before your surgery, meaning you cannot drink or eat ANYTHING. The reason for this is that if there are food contents in your stomach, you run the risk of aspiration pneumonia during anesthesia (where stomach contents travel down your windpipe and cause pneumonia–you don’t want this).
How long will the surgery take?
The surgery itself depends on the extent of the wound. What usually takes longer is the pre-operative and post-operative care. This is to ensure your loved one has a safe and successful surgery. No one can predict how long a surgery will take because no two human bodies are exactly the same. Please be patient if there are delays during your day of surgery as we are doing our best to make sure everyone has a safe surgical experience.
Where and what will my incisions look like?
Generally incision sites will be directly over the involved area. Sometimes the wound may have dead tissue in/around the wound must be removed. Many times the wound will be packed with special gauze in order to help promote healing in the area. One special type is a Wound Vac–this is a special type of sponge that has suction applied to it in order to draw out all the infectious material.
What is ‘Preop’?
Right before your surgery, you will be seen by the anesthesia team who is responsible for your comfort during surgery and allowing you to sleep through your procedure. During this time you will have machines breath for you (mechanical ventilator). A tube must be placed down your windpipe in order for the machine to assist you. This is why someone will ask you to look inside your mouth. Also, you will have catheters placed in order to monitor your bodily functions (Foley catheter, which is inserted into your urethra). During your surgery you will be given medications to reduce pain and keep you asleep so it is important to let your anesthesia team know if you are allergic to any medications.
What happens when the procedure is finished? What do I do at home?
Once you wake up you will likely find yourself in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Here nurses will make sure you are doing well and help control your pain. You may experience soreness in your throat because of the tube that was in your windpipe helping you breathe–this should get better in a day or two. Expect some soreness over your wound areas. This will all get better with time. Also, do not be surprised when you see that your wound has been packed with special gauze material or has been covered with a Wound Vac (special sponge that is connected to a suction device). Healing times will vary greatly depending on the extent of your wound. If you are discharged it is very important to take very good care of your wounds to prevent infection or other complications. Also, please remember to follow up with your physician in order to make sure your recover is going well.


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