Surgery FAQ


Why do I need a bowel prep?
Will I need a blood transfusion?
Will I have pain after surgery?
What kind of activity can I undertake after I go home?
Who is going to perform my surgery?
How long will I be in the hospital?
What kind of incision will I have?
When will you get a Pathology Report?

Why do I need a bowel prep?
For most major pelvic surgeries your colon must be completely evacuated. This dramatically decreases the risk of getting a fever after surgery. More importantly, if surgery needs to be performed on the colon itself a temporary colostomy can be prevented if an adequate pre-operative bowel prep is ordered. [back to top]
Will I need a blood transfusion?
Probably not. Blood products are administered sparingly nowadays. It is a reality, however, that surgical management of advanced gynecologic cancers often requires rather extensive procedures associated with significant intra-operative blood loss. Unfortunately, surgery of malignant conditions is a relative contraindication for intra-operative auto-transfusion. The risk of viral transmission (Hepatitis, HIV) is estimated to be only 1:100,000 units of blood. If transfusion is foreseen you will be counseled on Donor Designation programs where you can select family or friends to provide blood products for you. [back to top]
Will I have pain after surgery?
Yes. All surgery is associated with some degree of pain. However, very “high tech” methods are utilized to minimize the amount of discomfort you experience. In many situations a small catheter is placed directly into the space around the spinal cord to deliver medication directly to the pain pathways. Patient Controlled Anesthesia (PCA) devices are utilized in all patients. This is a computerized device which allows you to safely self administer pain medication. When you leave the hospital you will be sent home with very effective oral medication to make your recuperation as pain free as possible. [back to top]
What kind of activity can I undertake after I go home?
For the most part there are very few restrictions on your activity once you leave the hospital. There actually is nothing you can do that will either speed up or slow down your healing processes. It’s a good idea not to drive a car for several weeks. Other than this, however, you can pretty much do anything that you feel like doing. Use common sense – if you feel tired then take a rest – if you are doing something that makes you hurt somewhere, then stop doing it. [back to top]
Who is going to perform my surgery?
The head of your surgical team will be the Gynecologic Oncologist to whom you were referred. The surgical assistant will be your referring doctor, Gynecologic Oncology Fellow or a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA). [back to top]
How long will I be in the hospital?
The length of time that you will stay in the hospital after surgery is dictated by the type of surgery performed. Most abdominal procedures require a 3 – 5 day postoperative stay. More extensive procedures are associated with longer hospital stays. [back to top]
What kind of incision will I have?
The location, direction and size of an incision are determined by the type of surgery that is planned. Many pelvic surgeries can be performed through a low transverse (bikini) incision. Some surgical procedures require an “up and down” incision that could extend from your pubic bone all the way to the bottom of your breast bone. Minimally Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic and Robotic techniques) require 1 – 4 very tiny incisions located in your lower abdomen. Click here for photos of various abdominal incisions. [back to top]
When will you get a Pathology Report?
The microscopic analysis of tissue removed at surgery is performed by a Pathologist. The Gynecologic Oncologist can determine whether additional chemotherapy and/or radiation is required to adequately treat your cancer based on details provided by the Pathologist in his report. Two types of analysis are commonly performed on tissue removed at the time of surgery; [back to top]1) A “Frozen Section” analysis is obtained at the time of surgery. The Frozen Section is used to provide rapid, but not very detailed, analysis of tissue samples so that important decisions can be made while you are undergoing surgery. [back to top]2) A “Permanent Section” is performed on a sample of all tissue removed in every surgery. this analysis takes 36 – 72 hrs to perform but gives very detailed and complete information. [back to top]