Although it's normal to be nervous, the day of your weight loss surgery is really an exciting day because it's a major milestone on your road to a healthier, happier life. Here is a general overview of what to expect during your experience at Sentara RMH Medical Center.
On the day of your scheduled surgery, please arrive at the hospital and park in Lot A, at the time given to you by the surgeon’s office. Enter through the main hospital entrance and go to the registration area. You will be greeted at the reception desk and introduced to the nurse who will begin the admission process with you. Your family may accompany you and stay with you throughout most of this process.
Pre-op Patient Area
While in the pre-surgical area, you will change into a hospital gown and a nurse will check your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature). Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit you before surgery. The anesthesiologist and surgeon will discuss anesthetic techniques, anticipated outcomes and potential complications. This visit allows you to ask questions and increases your feelings of security by helping you understand the anesthetic technique.
If you wear glasses, dentures or hearing aids, you will need to give these to your family to keep for you while you are in surgery. Please leave money, jewelry and contact lenses at home.
Surgery and Recovery Room
The laparoscopic gastric banding procedure and the time it takes to be completed can vary depending on your unique anatomy. Expect to be very sleepy when you first wake up in the recovery room and for most of the rest of the day. It is also not unusual to awaken with some nausea and pain. The recovery room nurses will be with you constantly during this time to help you with any discomfort you may have. Once you have been cleared to leave the recovery room, you will be transported to your room in the main hospital on the post-surgical unit.
There will be five very small incisions on your abdominal area. During surgery the incisions were closed using a type of surgical “glue,” so you will not have any sutures or staples.
Your Hospital Stay Following Surgery
Once you are moved to the post-surgical unit, your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen status and urine output will be monitored. You will remain on the post-surgical unit until you are discharged from Sentara RMH.
Before you are discharged, an Sentara RMH Registered Dietitian will meet with you to review your dietary instructions. You will be on the post-op liquid diet until your first follow-up appointment with your surgeon.
The time of your discharge from the hospital will depend on when your surgeon thinks it is safe for you to return home. Most patients can expect to spend one night in the hospital for the laparoscopic gastric banding procedure, and two nights for the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. Patients who choose the ORBERA procedure will go home the same day. Every surgery patient is unique, so expectations of discharge times may vary from patient to patient. However, most patients can expect a one-night stay in the hospital. Prior to discharge, your nurse or other healthcare providers will review all activity instructions with you, along with precautions you should take and any situations that may arise when you should call your surgeon. You will also be given a follow-up appointment to see the surgeon in his office in a few weeks.
You will receive any prescriptions for medications you will need after surgery when you are discharged. You will also be given specific home care instructions before you leave the hospital.
Once you return home, if you have any questions or concerns, your surgeon or his physician assistant are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To reach them, call their office number at 540-689-5800.