You will be admitted to hospital the afternoon before your operation. At this stage any tests which have not been completed prior to your admission will be done e.g. chest x-ray, ECG. During this time your surgeon and nursing staff will be on hand to discuss any further questions you have. You will also be seen by the anaesthetist and a physiotherapist.
The operation normally takes between two and three hours. An incision is made from the lower end of the sternum or breastbone down to the navel to allow the operation to be performed.
We work hard to ensure pain is as well controlled as possible. This involves using a combination of PainBuster (local anaesthetic into the wound), PCA (patient controlled analgesia) and other forms of intravenous analgesia. Good pain relief and early mobilisation is the key to good recovery. All patients are removed from bed and mobilised four hours after the procedure.
To aid in your rehabilitation, and to avoid complications, our nurses and physiotherapist will go through deep breathing exercises, coughing and leg movements with you.
You will usually be permitted to suck ice the first day after the operation and will begin drinking small amounts of water on the second day. Intake will be increased slowly until your intravenous drip is removed on the fourth or fifth day after surgery.
Once you can tolerate a regular amount of water and your drip has been removed, you will be allowed a variety of alternative fluids such as clear soup, tea, coffee, cordial or juice. When you can tolerate all these fluids without difficulty (usually the fourth or fifth day after surgery) you will have your first meal. This will involve a few teaspoons of soft semi-solid food such as soup, scrambled eggs, mashed potato, custard, jelly, porridge or stewed fruit.
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