Every day, thousands of people have a robotic-assisted procedure with the da Vinci surgical system. If you or a loved one will soon be one of them, it’s helpful for you to understand what robotic-assisted surgery is and what to expect the day of surgery. Because every patient and surgery is unique, be sure to ask your care team about your particular surgery.
Planning and preparation before surgery
The most important thing you can do before surgery is to talk to your surgeon and follow all instructions from your care team. Here’s a list of additional ideas to help you get ready for surgery day.
- Follow all care team instructions: Your surgery care team will provide a list of important instructions to follow before and after surgery. If you haven’t received a list, ask for one.
- Check your insurance coverage: To avoid unexpected medical bills, talk to your health insurance provider about your upcoming surgery. Find out what your insurance covers and if you need any preauthorizations.
- Prepare for limitations after surgery: Knowing what you may or may not be able to do after surgery (i.e. lifting, walking, driving, etc.) can help you make arrangements for at-home care, transportation, food, childcare, pet care, and other tasks of daily living.
- Pack a bag: If you may be staying at the hospital overnight, bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and other personal items you will need. Leave your valuables, such as your watch and jewelry, at home.
- Dress for comfort: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for your surgery appointment.
- Get ready for check-in: Bring your identification, insurance cards, a copy of your Advance Directive, if needed, and a form of payment to cover any copayments that may be required by your insurance.
Prepare for your recovery
Your doctor may share a post-surgery checklist, but no two people are alike. Be sure to tell your doctor about your situation—your work and family demands, exercise habits, and activities that are important to you. By being specific, your doctor can let you know what you’ll need to do differently during recovery and when you can expect to get back to normal activities. Here are questions you can ask.
- Care What kind of care will I need when I get home? Will I need someone to stay with me full time? Will my care provider need to be able to lift me from a chair or bed?
- Pain How long does post-surgery pain typically last? What do I need to know about pain management medications?
- Diet Will I have any food or drink restrictions and for how long? Are there foods you recommend?
- Activity What activity restrictions do I need to be aware of, i.e, sitting in a chair, lifting, having sex, climbing stairs?
- Getting back to normal How long before I can return to work or resume my usual activities?
- Exercise How long before I can start exercising again?