Testes Cancer

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RPLND FAQ

Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Your RPLND

(Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection)

 

How long does the operation take?
Surgery itself usually lasts four hours. However, it generally takes six hours from the time you leave the pre-op area before surgery until you arrive in the recovery room. You will be unable to see your family for an additional two hours, the period most people are in the recovery room.

 

How long will I be in the recovery room after surgery is done?
Generally, you will be in the recovery room for two hours. This may be longer depending on how readily available are the rooms on the ward.

 

What kind of room will I go to after the recovery room?
Most of our patients recover on the ward, which has nurses specialized in the care of patients with testes cancer. Often, patients’ families are able to stay with them in their rooms.

 

Will I need to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)?
Rarely do patients need to go to the ICU after routine prostate surgery. If the patient has underlying medical problems, or if the operation is complicated, the patient may need to be in the recovery room for several days after surgery. This enables us to closely monitor your vital signs and overall condition.

 

What are the potential complications of this surgery?
All surgical procedures have inherent risks. Obviously, we would not perform your operation if we felt that the risks of surgery out-weighed the benefits. During your initial meeting and consultation, we will discuss the potential complications of bleeding, infection, infertility, difficulties with ejaculation, bowel obstruction, lymphocele, , injury to surrounding tissues (i.e. kidneys, ureters, blood vessels, intestines), the need for further treatment, blood clots, and the risks of anesthesia (heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and death).

 

What can I do before surgery to be optimally prepared?
It is important to refrain from aspirin or aspirin-like compounds (i.e. Motrin™, Advil™, ibuprofen) for at least one week before surgery. The day before your operation, you may be instructed to begin a liquid diet and undergo a bowel prep.

 

What medications will I need when I go home?
At time of discharge, you will be given prescriptions for pain medications and stool softeners, if necessary.

 

What limitations will I have after I go home?
Most people recover quite rapidly from RPLND. Some begin working after only a few weeks. Nonetheless, because recovery can be variable, you should forewarn your employer that you will be absent from your job for six weeks after open RPLND and for two to three weeks after laparoscopic RPLND. During this period you should refrain from vigorous exercise and lift no more than ten pounds at a time. You should refrain from driving for at least two weeks after surgery.

 

Deciding When to Schedule Your RPLND

 

Hospital stay
You should plan on being in the hospital for five days (including the day of surgery) after open RPLND and two to three days after laparoscopic surgery.

 

Time off work
Most people recover quite rapidly from RPLND. Some begin working after only a few weeks. Nonetheless, because recovery can be variable, you should forewarn your employer that you will be absent from your job for six weeks after open RPLND and for two to three weeks after laparoscopic RPLND. During this period you should refrain from vigorous exercise and lift no more than ten pounds at a time. You should refrain from driving for at least two weeks after surgery.

 

Preparations for surgery
One to two weeks before your operation you will need to meet with the anesthesiologists at The University of Chicago. At that same time, you will be given the opportunity to donate blood to be used, if necessary, at the time of surgery. The day before surgery you may be placed on a clear liquid diet and given a bowel prep, to cleanse your intestines.

 

Limitations after surgery
Most people recover quite rapidly from RPLND. Some begin working after only a few weeks. Nonetheless, because recovery can be variable, you should forewarn your employer that you will be absent from your job for six weeks after open RPLND and for two to three weeks after laparoscopic RPLND. During this period you should refrain from vigorous exercise and lift no more than ten pounds at a time. You should refrain from driving for at least two weeks after surgery.

 

Planning vacations
Because of the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), it is prudent to wait at least three weeks after surgery before flying in an airplane. Otherwise, the major limitations to travel involve your comfort with traveling.

 

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