The two categories of surgery are inpatient and outpatient surgery. Inpatient surgery simply means that the patient is admitted to the hospital after the procedure. Nursing care, pain medications, and support is provided while the patient remains in hospital and is discharged home when stabilized. In contrast, outpatient surgery refers to procedures after which the patient is discharged home on the same day without a hospital stay. Many patients prefer outpatient surgery since they return home on the same day and can recover in the comfort of their own home. Usually, simpler, less pain generating procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. After the procedure, patients are cared for in the recovery room. Patients are kept there for one or two hours to stabilize and recover from the medications used during the procedure. Patients are then discharged home with instructions specific for their diagnosis. Narcotic pain medications may be prescribed and it is important to avoid driving while on these medications. Transportation arrangement should be made prior to the procedure since driving is prohibited after these procedures. Call and make an appointment for one or two weeks after the procedure so that your physician can evaluate healing progress. Common to all procedures is the risk of infections. Common signs of infection include redness to the wound, increased warmth, increased pain, or fluid discharge from the wound. Inform you physician as soon as any of these signs are present. Your physician can evaluate these wounds and initiate appropriate treatment if necessary.
The introduction of Minimally Invasive Surgery has introduced new procedures that can be performed on outpatient basis. In the past, these same procedures were performed with much larger incisions, requiring more dissection and in turn cause more pain with longer recovery time. Minimally Invasive Surgery procedures utilize innovative instruments and technology to achieve the same results through smaller incisions with less soft tissue dissection achieving better visualization and less post-operative pain. Return to functional lifestyle is expedited with these procedures. Since there is less pain involved, patients can be discharged home on the same day and followed up in the office. For example, the Micro-Endoscopic procedures like discectomy are performed in our office on an outpatient basis. Other centers use larger incisions requiring more dissection, larger incisions, and consequently more postoperative pain. Our incisions are usually the size of a dime and are closed using plastic surgery techniques in which all sutures are buried under the skin. The wound is covered by a band-aid or a very small water proof dressing. To reduce post-operative pain numbing medication is injected in the wound which lasts 8-24 hours after the procedure. This keeps patients comfortable and ready for discharge the day of surgery. Our entire protocol revolves around patient comfort, fast discharge, expedited recovery, and fast return to full functional lifestyle.