F.A.Q.

Colonoscopy
Will I have pain after the procedure?
No.  It is a painless procedure unless a rare complication occurs
What kind of anesthesia will I have?
A deep sedation where you will be sleeping and have no recollection of the procedure.  You will be able to breath on your own.
When can I go back to work?
Immediately.  Just no driving the same day because of the anesthesia.
Do I need a driver?
Yes.  You’re not allowed to drive that day due to the anesthesia.
Do I need to stay overnight in the hospital after a colonoscopy?
No.
Can I drink alcholol with prep?
No.  You may become dehydrated.
EGD
(same as colon except for prep questions)
ERCP
(same as colon except prep and …unless a complication occurs such as pancreatitis)
….anesthia?
Most of the time, general anesthesia is used and a breathing tube is place.
What if I get pancreatitis?
You will have to stay in the hospital with IV fluids until the pancreatitis resolves.  Usually, this is only 1-2 days.
Gallbladder
Do I need a gallbladder to digest my foods?
The gallbladder aids in fat digestion.  Some people have diarrhea after their gallbladder removal.  This is usually with fatty foods and most of the time resolves.
….anesthesia?
general anesthesia where a breathing tube is placed (this answer will be the same for all the remaining procedures).
What do I do if I have chronic diarrhea after a gallbladder removal?
Many medications can be given to help this.  Some help reduce fatty intolerance.
Why do I have the same pain that I had before my gallbladder was removed?
This is commonly referred to a “post-cholecystectomy syndrome.”  Many of these cases are undiagnosed sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (see ERCP link).
What post-operative restrictions are there?
There are no post-operative restrictions after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  You may resume normal activities immediately.  You may be sore for up to a week afterwards and might not feel like doing much, however.  Driving should also be avoided while taking pain medicine if it makes you drowsy.
Do I need to stay overnight in the hospital after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy?
No.
Heartburn
What side effects are their of taking long-term medication?
There are side effects that include lung and intestinal infections.  This is from stopping the acid in the stomach that keeps away bacteria.  Secretions with bacteria can be aspirated or are passed to the bowel.  Other side effects include decreased bone density, gastrointestinal disorders, and interference with Plavix.
How long should I try antiacid medications before I seek treatment?
Physician supervision is recommended by the drug companies after 2 weeks of therapy.  If recurrence of symptoms develop after cessation of medications for 6 weeks or failure to control symptoms on medications, further evaluation should be considered.
What’s the big deal if I have heartburn?
Heartburn can be a symptoms of GERD that can damage the esophagus and cause precancerous changes.  Heartburn may also be a symptom of other disorders such as esophageal dysmotility and gastric ulcers.
Can I drink alcohol with PPI medications?
You can, but alcohol makes GERD worse by relaxing the valve at the end of the esohagus and irritating the esopahgus and stomach.
Hiatal hernia
When should my hiatal hernia be fixed?
Most hiatal hernias do not need to be fixed.  Those that cause troublesome symptoms should be fixed.  Also, the types that have a risk of twisting (paraesophageal) should be fixed to avoid life-threatening strangulation
How is a hiatal hernia fixed?
The standard is laparoscopy.  There are many technicalities that must be performed to decrease the risk of recurrence and avoid complications.    These include wrap placement, length, tightness, and adequate lengthening of the esophagus.
How long do I stay in the hospital after a hiatal hernia/ repair/Nissen fundoplication?
Most people are discharged the next day.
What dietary restrictions will I have after my hiatal hernia repair/Nissen fundoplication?
Clear liquids post-op day 1.  Full liquids for the next week.  Soft diet for the 2nd and 3rd week.  Regular food afterwards.  No straws, carbonated beverages, and crush pills and mix in applesauce for 3 weeks.
How much pain will I have after my hiatal hernia repair/Nissen fundoplication?
Most people are sore in the abdomen and/or chest about 3-5 days but it may last for up to 2 weeks
Groin hernia
How long do I have to be off of work?
 Repaired laparoscopically, people may return to work as soon as they feel up to it.  This may be after a couple of days  For extra precaution, avoiding heavy lifting for 2 weeks may be a good idea.
Do I need to have my hernia fixed?
Hernias should be fixed if they cause pain or a significant bulge is palpated.  It may become stuck causing obstruction and or strangulation which is a surgical emergency.
Do I need to stay overnight in the hospital after a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair?
No.
Ventral hernia
What is the recovery from a ventral hernia repair?
You may be sore for pain for at least 2 weeks.
Do I need to stay overnight in the hospital after a ventral hernia repair?
Most people can go home the same day if performed laparoscopically.  If extensive lysis of adhesion are performed, you may need to stay overnight in the hospital.
Thyroid
Do I need to stay overnight in the hospital after a thyroidectomy?
Not if only half is removed.  If the entire thyroid is removed, most people only stay overnight.
Other FAQ the same for all procedures:
When can I drive?  You will not be allowed to drive the day after the procedure because of the anesthesia.  If you are taking pain medications after the procedure, they may make you drowsy and you shouldn’t operate a vehicle.
What do I do for constipation after my surgery?
Unless you had surgery on your stomach or esophagus, then you should eat a high fiber diet and drink at least 6 glasses of water a day.   You may also take 2 ounces of milk of magnesia until you have a bowel movement.
When do I follow up after surgery?
1-2 weeks unless otherwise specified.
Do I have to keep my incisions covered after the procedure?
No (except for thyroid, parathyroid, and traditional open incisions performed-yes for 3 days
When can I shower?
Immediately (except for thyroid, parathyroid, and traditional open incisions — 3 days (sponge baths in the meantime).
When can i take a bath or swim?
3 days (except for thyroid, parathyroid, and traditional open incisions-1 week).