Preparing For Surgery

The Operating Room

  1. Going to the operating room (OR) is not a normal experience for most of us. Your surgical team recognizes the natural anxiety with which most patients approach this step in the process to achieving their goals. We believe that a description of the surgical experience will help you prepare for it.
  2. Specialists using the most modern equipment and techniques possible will attend to you. This team includes at least one board certified anesthesiologist, a trained surgical assistant and nurses that will assist your surgeon. A registered nurse is in charge of the OR.
  3. Once you enter the OR, the staff will do everything they can to make you feel secure. You may walk to the OR be transported on a gurney (a bed or stretcher on wheels). There, the nurses who will be assisting your surgeon will review your chart.
  4. Once you are settled on the operating table, you will be connected to several monitors and an intravenous (IV) catheter. A quick acting sedative will be given through the IV tubing after you have breathed pure oxygen for a few minutes. Once you fall asleep, your anesthesiologist will usually slip an endotracheal tube through your mouth into your windpipe to guarantee that your breathing is unimpeded.  An anesthetic gas and other medications will keep you asleep and pain free.  At the same time, the anesthesiologist will connect you to monitoring devices.
  5. After you are asleep, a small plastic nasogastric (NG) tube is placed through your nose into your stomach, and another tube called a urinary catheter into your bladder.
  6. The surgery will last about two hours to three hours, but the length of the operation is dependent on the type of procedure(s) performed, number of extra procedures necessary, if any and the difficulty of finding working space within a very large abdomen.
  7. When your surgery has been completed and your dressings are in place, you will be moved to the recovery room.

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Recovery

  1. The hospital stay for bariatric surgery averages two to five days, longer for those with complications. Patients undergoing the laparoscopic method usually have a shorter hospitalization period.
  2. When you return to your room after surgery, you will continue to be closely monitored by your nurses. The first few days after the operation are a critical time for you to heal.
  3. Along with periodic monitoring of your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respirations), your nurses will encourage and assist you in performing deep breathing, coughing, leg movement exercises and getting out of bed after surgery. These activities can help to prevent complications.
  4. Be certain to report any symptoms of nausea, anxiety, muscle spasms, increased pain or shortness of breathing to your nurse.
  5. To varying degrees, it is normal to experience fatigue, nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness, surgical pain, weakness and light-headedness, loss of appetite, gas pain, flatulence, loose stools ad emotional ups and downs in the early days and weeks after surgery. You may discuss specific medical concerns with your surgeon.
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