Gas after colon surgery?

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Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 9/18/2009 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I have to have a sigmoid? colon resection because of an abcess due to complicated diverticulitis.  The Dr. is hoping to do laprascopic surgery if possible but the abcess is far back and could not be drained which is the usual procedure. I have had the diverticulitis since beginning of Aug. Thought it cleared up but it never did and then turned into the abcess. If the Dr. cannot due the laproscopic surgery he will have to make a bigger incision to reach the abcess. I know that abdominal surgery causes a lot of gas.  But I am wondering if I will have a lot of gas pains afterwards and will it be less with the smaller incision or more with a larger incision?  I have my gallbladder and don't have any other intestinal issues except the abcess. I do have some diverticulosis, which are the pockets in the colon but Dr says they don't look bad or irritated.  Any answers you can give my about gas pains would be very much appreciated.
 
Aurora

Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1955
   Posted 9/19/2009 7:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Aurora - if you have a simple procedure, laprascopic wise, I would think you'd have less gas to deal with. I was supposed to have that type of surgery, initially, dilation, etc. My malignant tumor was barely inside, in the sigmoid area. But I ended up having the large incision (6 inches long, vertically naval to pelvis). When you have an incision, they pump more air into the GI tract so they can see better. Also they take out organs if possible or parts of the small and large intestine to get to the part of the colon they will remove. They just lay these aside I was told. Then they put all these body parts and organs back inside, the way you were created before surgery. By doing all of this manipulation and adding gas to the gut, the gas can become trapped in places when sewn up. A few days after surgery, the gas can become painful, because it's trying to escape. I had terrible gas pains in the hospital. Of course I was in terrible pain from my 5 hour surgery and also had dry heaves. I hadn't been able to eat or drink yet (still on IV drip and not even ice chips yet). So I was a real mess that night. A kind nurse sat up with me until the gas pains ended.

Knowing what I know now, what I should have done was hit the floor. I chose to sit in a chair, with wet wash cloth on my forehead and face, small basin for the dry heaves and moaned/groaned in pain. I will add that Demerol did nothing for these gas pains. I think they gave me something in my IV for the gas but it didn't really work either.

What I should have done was begin walking the hospital floor. I did for my second surgery (oh yes by then I was a seasoned colon surgery vet so I knew what to do to get better fast).

So if you have the simple procedure I don't think gas will become a problem for you.

If you have an incision, take it from me and other previous colon surgery patients - WALK, WALK, and WALK some more. LOL

Getting moving and walking is the ONLY thing that helped me.

I never let gas build up and become trapped for my second surgery. As soon as the nurses came into my room and said - it's time, it's time to sit up, swing your legs to the side of the bed, sit upright in the recliner, etc. I did. No complaining. No grumbling. I did it. I came prepared, I brought a zip up robe that covered me well and good slippers with traction. I should have brought gym shoes, looking back. I took to the floor, leaving my room so many times a day. Doing double laps around the entire floor, I kept track of these walks on a small legal sized notebook I brought. Along with the hourly breathing exercises too.

By doing all of this the second time, the nurses didn't even have to remind me. They'd pop their heads in my room and ask did you walk, did you blow into breathing device, and each time I'd say yes, I walked, I did the exercises.

You learn from past experiences and surgeries. Feel free to learn from my experiences. The nurses tried telling me to walk the first time but I just flat out thought they were CRAZY!

Turns out, this advice isn't so crazy afterall.....he he
- Rectal Cancer 4/29/99, Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, temporary colostomy, reversed 8 weeks later)
- Chronic IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's, on low residue diet
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening

Post Edited (Marsky) : 9/19/2009 6:28:00 AM (GMT-6)


Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 9/19/2009 9:53 AM (GMT -6)   

Marsky, Your reply has been so helpful to me.  I just have an abcess to be removed but they call my surgery a colon resection.  I am hoping the abcess is not too far back so they can do it laproscopic. I may have to have a 4th CT scan which worries me as that is a lot of radiation and I also had 35 radiation treatments for breast cancer. However the surgery has to be done I will definitely take your advice and walk, walk, walk! My sons will be coming every day and they can help me walk around the floor and I will also ask the nursing assistant to help me walk.  I don't know how much pain will be involved but if it is the small incision the pain is supposed to be less. I hope so.  I am allergic to morphine and Dauludin so I can't have those for pain. I was told they only give demerol in the operating room so I have no idea how my pain will be controlled. Also have some problems with codeine and percoset. I know I will have trouble with nausea because I always have after general anesthia. The only med that works for me with nausea is Zofran. Thank you so much for helping me and giving me such good advice. I have so far followed all the drs instructions and I certainly will during my hospital stay and recovery.

Aurora


Marsky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1955
   Posted 9/19/2009 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I discovered I was allergic to morphine after my first surgery too! They switched me to Demerol and I did fine. For my second surgery (the reversal of a temp colostomy), I asked for Demerol from the beginning and it worked like a charm. If it's a simple laparoscopy surgery it might be rather short too, which would mean less anesthesia. So try not to worry too much. You do need this surgery it sounds like. I would just be as prepared as you can be. The walking really works. It sounds so odd when you think about it. Years ago my mom had two major surgeries, one a hysterectomy and was in the hospital for a week. The second having her gall bladder out. With the GB surgery, she was flat on her back for 9 days. On an IV and using the bed pan. The nurses would not let her get out of the bed to use the toilet. The thinking then (mid to late 1970s) was resting IN BED was the best way to recuperate. Now the thinking is reversed. The nurses will get you moving within 12 to 18 hours of your surgery. So get ready for them to pester you. Later when you are home, you will be glad you cooperated.

I didn't cooperate after my colon resection and actually recovered much more slowly at home afterwards. My temp would spike, I felt dizzy, just overall very sick still. My husband who had had his appendix out a few years prior to this said to walk, reminding me what the hospital nurses told him and then me to do. I wanted to throw anything not nailed down to the wall at him - not really, but at the time I thought, oh great not only were those nurses mean, but now my husband's in on it too? LOL As if there was this huge conspiracy to wear me out. When all I wanted to do was climb into bed - for a month and shut out the world.

Now I realize that's the worst thing you can do - stay in bed.

For my second surgery, I tried to be in my hospital bed for only 6 to 8 hours during a 24 hour period. The rest of the time I used my room's recliner in between walks around the floor. Just sitting upright is great for keeping your lungs clear.

It's interesting to me when you think of how far medicine has come or how the post-op advice has changed over just the past several decades!

You'll do fine. I wish you well.

Mary
- Rectal Cancer 4/29/99, Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, temporary colostomy, reversed 8 weeks later)
- Chronic IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's, on low residue diet
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening


Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 9/19/2009 9:06 PM (GMT -6)   

Mary , thanks again for replying.  I am hoping my surgery will be simple. The dr. said it would take about 2 hrs. And I definitely need it as there is no other way to get rid of the abcess. If he can't reach the place with the laparoscopy then he will have to make a larger incision which I guess will be more pain and healing time. I have had 2 c-sections with my kids so already have a scar from my navel on down. That was in the 70s and I remember having a lot of gas. Yes, things have certainly changed and I know the insurance co. wants to get you out of the hospital as soon as they can.  I have had so many health problems this year that I am on 100% coverage now.  Also, I have one of those breathing devises to expand the lungs. It really helps. I also have asthma so that can complicate things but i'm sure the anesthesiologist  will know what is best.  Again, I truly appreciate your help. I know what to expect and I will be prepared! Will post after I am home about how it all went, it will be late Oct. by then.

Aurora


finallyfree
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 470
   Posted 9/20/2009 12:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Aurora-
 
For lap surgery they usually pump you up with gas but as Mary said, WALK, WALK, WALK it's the most important thing you can do.  Also, as for pain, ask about an epidural; many surgeons now have their patients have an epidural placed in following surgery as it provides a quicker healing because you aren't given pain meds throughout your body, it just numbs the abdominal area and it doesn't cause your intestines to go to sleep as pain meds do so you will be able to eat quicker and move your bowels quicker.  I had all but 2 in. of my colon removed last year by an open surgery was on;y in the hospital for 5 days and went back to work full-time in 6 weeks.
 
I wish you the very best,
Judy
 
 
Judy
 
spleen/appendix/gall bladder-removed/endometriosis/complete hysterectomy at 29/sinus surgery/numerous allergies & asthma/chronic kidney stones/ pancreatitis 3x's/2 knee surgeries-now need replacement/bunion & 2 neuroma surgeries/shoulder surgery w/ pins-which also froze following surgery/severe adhesions & scar tissue-stomach to chest-liver to ribs-colon to pelvis/severe IBS w/ constipation/subtotal colectomy 7/08/ c difficile
 
Am now down from 17 meds a day to 8 and VERY healthy:)
 
There's always hope and things will get better :)


Aurora60
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1249
   Posted 9/20/2009 4:06 PM (GMT -6)   

Judy, Wow, you have really been through a lot.  I will check with the surgeon on having the epidural. I had that type of anesthesia for my 2 C-sections. Also had a spinal for knee surgery and my legs were numb for hours and I was worried I would be paralyzed so I will have general anesthesia any day. You just go to sleep and wake up when its over. I am taking the advice very seriously about getting up and walking. I assume when you mentioned you had open surgery that you had a larger incision, at least that's what I think you meant. I am hoping to have the lap surgery but wonder if I have the larger incision if they will pump me up with gas. Either way there is still a lot of gas after having any type of surgery where your abdomen is cut. Thanks so much for your reply and I will post again when all this is over. Can't be too soon!

Aurora


Bundy227
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/9/2009 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   

Aurora - hope you get this, I just joined this site and was pleasantly pleased to see your message as I just had the same type surgery you will be having, for the same reason - an abscess of the diverticuli.  This actually happened the end of June and fortunately the antibiotics sort of worked then but because I have heart problems they wanted me to get better and have elective surgery.  I was really scared, not because of the surgery, I was just afraid something would happen to the heart.  Well surgery was on 11/5, everything went very smoothly, my cardiologist greeted me in the recovery room and assured me the heart was not affected.  As far as the surgery, I had very little pain, except when you get up to go to the bathroom but they taught me how to breathe out when attempting to stand and it really works.  I was on morphine which they suggested I use as much as possible so the pain wouldn't get ahead of me.  I was taken of that on Sunday and today was the first time I took 2 Tylenols (I think it was just because I am home now).  What I am looking for is that I am experiencing gas pain in my left arm, top.  I had it checked out this morning, they did an EKG and bloodwork, heart is still ok and doc said it is just gas as once your stomach wakes up the gas travels to the highest point.  I just want to be prepared so if anyone knows what to do for that kind of gas pain I would appreciate knowing what to do.  They did remove 12 inches of my colon and it is really amazing that they did not without a big incision.  Now I see you requested information in September so by now you probably have had your surgery.  Thanks for listening though.

Bundy227

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