On the day of the procedure , you will be admitted to the hospital, usually 06h00 if surgery is planned in the morning and 10h00 if it is planned in afternoon. Depending on the procedure you may be able to go home on the same day or you may have to stay in the hospital for one or more days.
Diet Before Surgery
You should not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to your allocated surgery time. There is no need for a special diet or bowel preparation, unless instructed otherwise.
PLEASE NOTE: if you do not adhere to the diet prior to your surgery, your surgery will not proceed.
Your Regular Medications Before Surgery
It is very important to report all medications (including food supplements and herbal medicine) you take to the doctor during your visit as some of them may thin or thicken your blood and cause potential complications. Some medications have to be stopped before the operation.
Hormones are to be continued unless advised otherwise. Tamoxifen should be stopped 14 days before the procedure. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications such as Nurofen, Ponstan, Voltaren, Aspirin, Clopidogrel need to be stopped 7 days before your surgery. If you are taking Clexane or Warfarine or any other blood thinning medication, please discuss with the doctor regarding when to stop these prior to the surgery.
Continue other medications (e.g. heart, diabetes, antihypertensives) – take with a small amount of water on the morning of your surgery. Herbal medicine and nutritional supplements such as omega-3, fish oil, echinacea, creatine, ginger should be stopped 7 days before surgery.
Post operative care
You can re-start your regular medications following surgery. You will be given pain-killers (may be as an injection initially, and as tablets once you pain is improved). Please note that strong pain medications generally cause constipation, therefore, we try to wean them off as quickly as possible.
It is common to develop constipation because of anaesthesia, surgery itself as well as opioid pain medications (codeine, panadeine, morphine, oxycodone) used following surgery. It is important to stay well-hydrated with water, eat healthy high-fibre diet with vegetables and yogurt, and start physical activity (walking) as soon as possible following surgery. Sometimes we use laxatives (movicol) to help with bowel function.
General medical advise (not related to you individual insurance) is that you can drive when you have no pain, are not using any pain killers and able to press your foot hard on the floor without any pain in your body. If you had minor surgery (for example, hysteroscopy) you can re-commence driving 24 hours following anaesthesia. You can resume sexual activity as soon as you stopped bleeding and have no discomfort. If you are trying to fall pregnant you can resume trying to conceive following your menstrual period.
On some occasions, if you are unable to pass urine following surgery, you may have to go home with the catheter (tube in your bladder), which will be removed once your bladder function recovers usually in about a week. Your doctor will see you in the hospital following surgery and will advise you on follow-up visit after surgery. You are welcome to contact him / her for any questions.
Warning signs / symptoms
Please contact your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms after surgery:
- pain in your tummy that is increasing in intensity and is not controlled by the prescribed pain killers
- persistent vaginal bleeding, which is becoming heavier
- smelly vaginal discharge
- pus, swelling, increasing redness around incisions
- pain or burning when you are passing urine or need to pass urine frequently
- inability to pass urine
- collapse, dizziness
- any concerns you may have about your surgery
If you are unable to get in touch with your doctor please present to the Emergency Department / Casualty Ward of the hospital your operation was performed at (Mediclinic Cape Town or Life Kingsbury Hospital).