For the next 24 hours, you will have a drip in the back of your hand. For the first few hours we can give you fluids through the drip until you are drinking. While you are recovering from the anaesthetic, you may feel sleepy or ‘groggy.’ There may be some pain. We will give you painkillers to help with this, either with tablets or through a drip as patient controlled analgesia (PCA). As the name suggests, you can control the amount of pain reliever you receive. A nurse will show you how to use this.
Minor shoulder or stomach pain can be experienced for up to two days following surgery. This is due to the gas used to inflate your stomach during surgery. Patients often describe this as a “wind like” pain.
You may feel sickly following your operation but medication can be provided to help with this. Everyone recovers at there own rate. If you are comfortable and do not feel sickly you will be offered food and drink.
The tube (catheter) will remain in your bladder when you are discharged from hospital, normally 4-5 days after the operation. A small urinary leak can occur at the connection between the bladder and the water pipe. This can take from a few days to a few weeks to heal.
You will need to return to hospital in about four days. An X-ray will be performed to check for this leak. If there is no leak the catheter will be removed. However if a leak shows up you will return home and be re-admitted in further two weeks at which time the catheter would be removed.
What problems can occur?
You may experience some pain and discomfort, this will settle and painkillers are available to help reduce this. If you are in good health there is only a small risk that the operation and anaesthetic will affect your health in any way (Less than 1 in 1000).
If you do have other health problems such as a bad chest or angina then the risks are slightly higher, but precautions will be taken.
Bladder spasms are commonly experienced as a moderate cramping sensation in the lower stomach or bladder. If this is severe medication can be provided. Impotence can occur – just as it can with open surgery. A nerve sparing technique is attempted during surgery unless there is obvious involvement of the nerve tissue with the cancer.
The return of erectile function following surgery is dependent on the age of the patient, degree of pre-operative sexual function, technical precision of the nerve sparing technique and time.
Once the catheter is removed some patients may have difficulty in holding on to their urine. This is because of a urinary leak which normally settles in about 3 – 6 months in the majority of patients.
The urologist performing your operation will tell you that there is a very small risk of having to perform open surgery if there are any difficulties.
Are there any alternatives to this surgery?
The alternatives are conventional open surgery or radiotherapy. No data is available to show that one option is better than the other. There is no
reliable data available as yet to suggest whether surgery or radiotherapy improve survival rates.
What are the benefits?
A shorter stay in hospital and early return back to normal activities.
What can I do when I get home?
Take it easy and build up your strength gradually over four to six weeks. Start with short walks and gentle exercise until you are fully back to normal.
Try to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fluids, fresh fruit and vegetables. These are important to keep your bowels regular as this operation can make your bowels “lazy” for a few days.
Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and heavy housework during this period. Once you feel that you are back to normal it is safe to do house hold tasks and to drive. If you work it depends on how you feel and the type of job that you do, but four to six weeks convalescence is recommended.
A review appointment for twelve weeks will be arranged to check on your recovery from the operation.
If you have any problems following your discharge from hospital you can contact your GP for advice. A letter will be given for your GP when you leave the ward. A district nurse will be asked to visit you at home to check that your stomach wounds are healing.
The nurse will also continue giving you your blood thinning injections for up to 10 days following the date of your surgery.