Upcoming surgery

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 3/12/2014 6:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm coming up on my surgery consult (FINALLY after several delays!) and I have prepared a list of questions to ask my surgeon. If you don't mind would you help me look over it to make sure I haven't forgotten anything or if you feel I should add something please let me know. I would like to know as much as possible before making my finale decision. I know most of you could answer most of my questions with ease but I wanna make sure I ask my doctor anything I can to make me feel better at ease. So here goes:

What are the risks of the surgery?
What do I need to prepare for surgery?
What happens during the surgery?
How long will surgery take?
Will you have to put in a catheter?
What will you do if you see other problems with my esophagus?
What are the side effects of surgery?
What will happen if you need to switch to open surgery?
Can you make sure you order nicotine patch, stool softeners, and bentyl, just in case I need them?
Will I have to make a BM before I leave the hospital?
How long until I recover from the places you have to cut for the instruments?
How long for full recovery?
What medicines will I need after?
What type of pain medicine will you prescribe for after surgery?
Will I need liquid pain meds?
Will I need phenergan after surgery just in case I feel sick?
What are my aftercare instructions?
Will I be able to burp and vomit after surgery?
What are my limitations?
What will my diet be like after surgery?
When can I eat solid foods?
Will I be able to drink soda an wine again?
Am I allowed to do steps?
What happens after I recover? How many appointments will I need after the post op appointment?
What is the chance surgery doesn’t help?
What should I do/take if I get heartburn after surgery?

Any advice would be wonderful! Thanks in advance!!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 3/12/2014 9:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jill,
That is a good list!

I did some researching online before my surgery five years ago, and found a bunch of questions. I'll just post them here for you to consider. You may or may not want to add some to your list. Good luck with your appointment! Let us know how it goes!

The List:
What is your background? How many fundos do you do in a month? open or lap?

What interested you about this type of surgery?

Can you please explain why you believe I need a fundo. (Break this into several questions, if need be, such as, Can you please explain why you think my diaphragm needs repairing during the fundo.)

Will you do a full wrap (lap Nissen) or partial wrap (lap Toupet)? Why?

What muscles will be affected? How will that affect my mobility afterward? And for how long?

When can I go back to work?

Will I be able to resume my workout routine and weight lifting? When?

What is the biggest risk I'll take in having this surgery?

What is the hardest part of the surgery, for you?

What might cause my fundo to fail? What are the chances that this will happen?

How often do you have this (whatever the failure is) happen? (HOPE the response to this is a tiny fraction of the whole, "because I do a good job of assessing up front whether this is an appropriate solution.")

Do I need any other tests before the operation? (Often you'll need a chest x-ray and blood test right before. NOTE: An experienced Nissen surgeon will want an endoscopy, barium swallow, manometry, 24 hour PH monitor, and sometimes a stomach emptying test)

When will I meet the anesthesiologist? (And who will he/she be?)

What drugs will I receive? (This should include pain meds and anti-nausea drugs, not just whatever your anesthesiologist gives you.)

Who else will be in the OR? (VERY important if you'll be in a teaching hospital. Also, it's good to know what sort of nursing crew they allow. NOTE: I told my surgeon that I wanted HIM to do the surgery, not his resident. He told me that his resident would have to be there and assist. I said that was fine, as long has HE did the actual surgery.)

What other doctors will see me at the hospital, besides you and the anesthesiologist? (Again, especially important if you'll be in a teaching hospital.)

How long does the surgery take? about how long will I be in the recovery room?

Can you give me post-op diet guidelines?

When will I be able to sleep on a level bed?

What medications do I need to stop taking? When? (Be prepared with a list of medications and supplements you take.)

When can I resume taking the meds (assuming you're told to stop them, of course)?

When will I need to return for follow-up appointments after surgery? Can I schedule them now?

At what point post-op will my care be transferred back to my GI doctor?

What might cause you to give me an open, even though we're planning on a lap?

Show me where the incisions will be (both for lap and open).

How many stitches will you put in my diaphragm?

What should I do if I have problems after I'm released from the hospital? (Try to get a fix on what is urgent and what is not and whether you can reach your surgeon easily, especially outside of office hours.)

Check whether your surgeon will be at work for the 4-6 weeks following your surgery. If vacation or holiday time-off is coming up, you need to know that so that you can then ask who will be available for back-up and what their credentials are.

Is there anything else I should know that I've not already asked about? (This is an attempt to be sure that your surgeon isn't "forgetting" to mention something to you.)

If I have more questions, how can I contact you? (If the surgeon is NOT receptive to this, you've got the wrong person!)

Finally, include questions re: related health issues you might have -- from a bum knee and the abuse it might take during this to diabetes or whatever. You don't want to emerge from this experience in worse shape on another front!
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Wendy Workout
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 173
   Posted 3/12/2014 10:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow between the 2 of you, you have covered a lot of questions already. I had questions re being lactose intolerant and that was his biggest concern with me due to gas being trapped below the sternum and how painful that becomes. If you have any dietary needs ( outside of those that increase GERD) then ask about them.

I asked if it was reversible or could be redone? Why would this take place and how difficult?

Would it reduce/reverse my horse voice (at times) , asthma, chronic cough, need to cough after I eat every time, decrease amount of mucous I formed especially over night, decrease sore throats, stop me from getting laryngitis?

How long to reverse the damage to my esophagus and is it completely repairable ?

What would happen if I got food poisoning, Norwalk (again), bad flus? Told I'd have to go in and have an NG tube inserted if severe enough.

How to control nausea after?

That's all I can think of for now. Hoping none of these are repeats as these were some of my personal concerns.

Good luck. I left my list with the surgeon for some of the simple concerns as it was a long list. They faxed me my answered although they were brief.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 3/13/2014 2:47 AM (GMT -6)   
thanks for the extra questions... some would be an after thought...
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