- Before surgery
- Dr Hamer may prescribe a diet before surgery known as a VLCD. This is a diet designed to take fatty deposits out of your liver, making your surgery safer. This is usually prescribed for 2 weeks before surgery.
- After surgery
- You will need to be careful with what you eat after your fundoplication. For the first month you should eat only very soft foods that don't require a lot of chewing. A rough rule of thumb is that everything should be the consistency of food that has gone through a blender. You should avoid bread, red meat and chicken. You should avoid fizzy drinks during this period. After a month you can slowly start trialing a normal healthy diet again. If you are having trouble with any particular food simply stop and try again in a week or two.
Anti-reflux medications. The aim of your operation is to come off your anti-reflux medications. After your operation you should continue taking them for 3-4 weeks, then slowly wean yourself off them. If you come off too quickly you may find that some of your symptoms temporarily recur. If this happens, start taking them again, but try coming off them slowly again in a couple of weeks.
After your operation, even if you have been discharged on the same day, the effects of the anaesthetic can take 24 hours to wear off. You need to avoid driving, operating machinery, drinking alcohol, climbing ladders, make any important or legal decisions. You should have a responsible adult with you for this 24hr period.
After you have been discharged from the hospital, you will have dressings over your wounds. Dressings do not affect how well your wounds heal, but they do protect your clothes from any seepage which may occur. If they become dirty or wet, they may simply be removed and changed for a similar dressing or a band aid. After a week they can be removed and discarded. Occasionally people feel more comfortable leaving a dressing on for an extra week, particularly if the wound is somewhere that rubs on clothing.
Sutures: Your wounds will be closed with either glue or dissolving sutures, neither of these need removal.
Pain killers: Most people find taking regular paracetamol to be enough for their pain. Paracetamol has the advantage (unlike most other pain killers) that it won't make you constipated or feel woozy. It is also very safe if taken carefully according to the instructions on the packet. In some circumstances you will be given additional pain killers to take home with you. If this is the case, you should read and follow the instructions carefully.
Problems: Complications are unusual. If you do have any problems you have multiple ways of accessing help. During office hours you can contact Dr Hamer's rooms or your GP. For more pressing problems or after hours you can also contact the emergency department at the hospital.
Recovery: Generally most people find that they are fit to return to light duties at work after 1 -2 weeks. You should avoid heavy lifting for four weeks after your operation. If you are still having significant problems at this time you should be reviewed to ensure you are still recovering properly.