General surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal contents including esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland (depending on local reference patterns). They also deal with diseases involving the skin, breast, soft tissue, trauma, peripheral vascular surgery and hernias. All general surgeons are trained in emergency surgery. Bleeding, infections, bowel obstructions and organ perforations are the main problems they deal with. Cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder, is one of the most common surgical procedures done worldwide. This is most often done electively, but the gallbladder can become acutely inflamed and require an emergency operation. Ruptures of the appendix and small bowel obstructions are other common emergencies.
It’s like taking a small nap! All you will feel is a small needle prick during your preparation for the procedure. The entire surgery takes about 30 minutes.
You will normally be able to start drinking water shortly after the procedure and can start eating as soon as you are hungry. You will be able to get out of bed a few hours after surgery. You are likely to have some pain after the procedure that is easily controlled with painkillers. You can expect a small amount of bleeding and wearing a pad will protect your clothes from getting soiled.
If your operation is planned as a day care procedure you can go home as soon as the effect of the anaesthetic has worn off, you have passed urine and you are comfortable, eating and drinking. Since a general anaesthetic is used, it is advisable that a responsible adult take you home and stay with you for 24 hours.Before you are discharged you will be advised about post-operative care, painkillers and laxatives.
You will normally open your bowels within 2-3 days of your operation. This may be uncomfortable at first and there could be a sense of ‘urgency’ (need to rush to the toilet). You may notice mild blood loss after each bowel movement but this will gradually reduce over the next few days. Maintain hygiene, and wash and keep the operation site clean. It is important to maintain a regular bowel movement that should be well formed but soft. You may need to take prescribed laxatives for 2-4 weeks. Eating a high fibre diet and increasing water/fluid intake will help.