Commonly asked questions about surgery

If you’re considering surgery, making the decision on which treatment you’ll have is an important one. Take your time and ask your doctor, care team or hauora provider any questions.
It might also be helpful to seek counselling support during your decision-making and recovery process.

Here are some commonly
asked questions:

Should I stop taking aspirin before surgery?

Some doctors recommend stopping aspirin (or other blood thinners) 7 days before surgery. Check with your doctor, as this recommendation may vary.

Do I need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before surgery?

Stopping NSAIDs 7 to 10 days before surgery is recommended, but check with your doctor first.

Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Nurofen, Ibugesic, I-Profen), naproxen (Naprosyn, Noflam), diclofenac (Voltaren), ketoprofen (Oruvail) and celecoxib (Celebrex).

Do I need to stop taking any over-the-counter supplements before surgery?

Some rongoā, supplements, herbs, and over-the-counter medications could result in bleeding during surgery. Inform your doctor about all the medications you’re taking and do not take any rongoā, vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter medications in the 10 days before surgery, unless approved by your surgeon.

How long will I be in hospital?

Most people can go home 1 to 2 days after surgery, but it depends on what type of surgery (laparoscopic or open) you had and how well you’re recovering. You’ll also be sent home with a catheter, to help drain your urine (wee/mimi). The catheter will be removed when you visit your doctor, usually 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

When can I return to work?

Usually about 6 weeks after surgery.

Is exercise important after surgery?

Yes! Exercising and slowly building your strength back up will be a priority.

No matter how active and fit you were before surgery, you’ll probably feel low on energy and be limited in activity afterwards. To return to normal activity, you’ll need to follow a sensible exercise program, adapted to your level of health and fitness by your doctor, care team or hauora provider.

Linking in with an exercise physiologist or pelvic floor physiotherapist, who puts together personalised exercise programs, can be helpful to make sure you’re doing the right exercises at the right time. Speak to your care team or hauora provider about a referral or look for a clinical exercise physiologist or physiotherapist online. You can also look for specific exercise classes offered for tāne with prostate cancer.

Realistically, it will be about 6 to 8 weeks before you are back to the stamina and strength you had before surgery. However, you’ll be surprised at how starting a basic exercise program helps you feel good in just a few weeks.

When do I start exercising after surgery?

You’ll be asked to get up and move around very soon after surgery. By the late afternoon or early evening following surgery, a nurse will assist you in getting up at the side of your bed or into a chair. This is the first form of exercise that you will perform on the road to recovery so your understanding and participation is important.

To stand, you will need someone to support you under your arm. With a nurse’s help, stand and walk to a chair. As you get more comfortable you might take longer walks, like down the hallway. During your hospital stay, you should plan on walking a short distance several times a day.

How will I know if I’ve pushed myself too far?

Getting back into an exercise groove can do wonders for your health, but don’t overdo it. When you push too hard, you’re more likely to feel weak, dizzy, flushed, and sick in your stomach.

When getting back into exercising, you may experience more leaking of urine (wee/mimi) than before. If the leaking gets worse while exercising, it’s a sign that the exercise may be too vigorous. You may need to cut back or try a different exercise.

Other signs you might also notice:

  • getting tired or fatigued more easily

  • pain in the area your doctor made cuts for surgery

  • discomfort, warmth or pull-down in the pelvic area

  • blood in your urine

When you exercise, try to stop and rest before these symptoms become too severe. Being sensible and doing several shorter periods of exercise rather than longer ones is better.

Can I stretch or do yoga?

While you’re still in the hospital, your doctor, care team or hauora provider will want you to stretch and stay active. It’s important to listen to your body, so start off gently. If you feel pulling or it hurts, STOP.

What other activities can I do and when?

Always check with your doctor, care team or hauora provider before starting any activities. The list below is general guidance on what may work for some tāne, but not all.

  • Walking – you should aim to be walking the day after surgery.

  • Walking upstairs – you can walk up the stairs in your home but do not use this as exercise (for the first 6 weeks).

  • Treadmill – level treadmill is usually OK (keeping a walking pace).

  • Golf – you can probably do some putting only in the first 6 weeks.

  • Bicycle or motorcycle riding – you should be able to get started again about 3 months after surgery. Some tāne can start again as early as 6 weeks, but this depends on their pain level and doctor's advice.

  • Horseback riding – you should be able to get started again about 3 months after surgery.

  • Lifting – anything over 4.5 kg might put too much stress on your tinana. Your doctor may advise you to wait for about 6 weeks.

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Commonly asked questions about surgery , here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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