What happens after your operation?

After surgery, you will usually be looked after in a high-dependency or intensive care unit. You will have some drips and drains in place to give you fluids and painkillers and to drain fluid from your body. These will be taken out over a few days as you recover. You will also have tubes to help drain urine from the body.

You will need painkillers after your operation. You may have an electronic pump that you can press yourself when you are in pain. This is called patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). You may have painkillers given into your blood, into your back or into the area around the wound. Let your nurses know if you are in pain so they can help.

You will be able to go home 7 to 21 days after your operation. Your doctor and nurses will explain when you can start doing things such as going back to work and driving. They will give you lots of support to help you manage your urinary diversion.

After your operation

Most people are looked after in a high-dependency or intensive care unit for a day or two after their operation.

The nurses will encourage you to start moving about as soon as possible after your operation. This helps to prevent problems such as chest infections or blood clots. Usually, you are given stockings to wear to help prevent blood clots.

If you have to stay in bed, the nurses will encourage you to do regular leg movements and deep breathing exercises. A nurse or a physiotherapist can help you do the exercises.


Drips and drains

After the operation, you may have some of the following for a short time:

  • A drip (intravenous infusion) to give you fluids until you are able to eat and drink again. It may also be used to give you painkillers.
  • A drainage tube in your wound or wounds to prevent fluid building up. This allows them to heal properly and is usually removed after a few days.
  • A nasogastric (NG) tube that goes down your nose and into your stomach or small bowel. This allows fluids to be removed so that you don’t feel sick. It’s usually taken out within 48 hours.
  • A fine tube that goes into your back (epidural) or into your wound to give you painkillers.

You will have tubes in place to help drain urine from your body. The tubes will depend on the type of urinary diversion you have. Your doctor and nurse will be able to tell you more.


Pain

After your operation, you’ll need painkilling drugs for a few days. You may have painkillers given into your blood, into your back or into the area around the wound.

To begin with, you may be given painkillers into a vein using an electronic pump. The pump is set to give you a continuous dose of painkiller. You have a hand control with a button you can press if you’re in pain. This is called patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). The nurses set the pump so you can’t have too much painkiller (overdose). So it’s safe to press it whenever you are uncomfortable.

Some people are given painkillers into their back (called an epidural). The drugs numb the nerves in the operation area to control your pain. You usually have them through a drip (infusion) attached to an electronic pump.

You may be given painkillers into the area around your wound. The surgeon puts small tubes into the wound during your operation. Your nurse or doctor can give you regular injections of painkillers into the tubes. The drugs help to numb the nerves in the same way as an epidural.

If you’re in pain, let your nurses and doctors know as soon as possible. You will be given painkiller tablets to take before you go home.


Going home

How long you’re in hospital for will depend on the type of operation you’ve had and your general health. It can range from 7 to 21 days.

You will be given a lot of support to help you manage your urinary diversion. Your doctor will advise you about how soon you’ll be able to get back to doing things such as work, driving, shopping, gardening or playing sport. This will depend on the operation you had and your recovery.

Before you leave hospital, you’ll be given an outpatient appointment for a check-up. This will be a few weeks after your surgery. It is a good time to discuss any concerns you may have after your operation. But if you are worried about anything before this time, contact your hospital team for advice.

Some people may have loose bowel motions after their surgery. This is because part of the bowel is used to make a urinary diversion. It usually gets better over time. Tell your doctor or specialist nurse if it continues.

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