FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
1. Will I be asleep for my surgery ?
2. How many days will I be in hospital ?
3. How long do I have to fast ?
4. When can I eat and drink after my procedure ?
5. Who do I speak to about the date of my operation ?
6. What is a 'stent' ? and when can it be removed ?
7. I am having my prostate removed but how long does my catheter stay in for afterwards ?
8. I have heard that after my prostate is removed I will be incontinent of urine, is this true ?
9. I have blood in my urine after my operation to remove or disintegrate a kidney stone - is this normal?
10. I was told I would be booked for a 'Trial of Void' (removal of catheter) - how do I find about my appointment date/time?
11. Where can I get more catheter supplies ?
12. Is there a continence physiotherapist available at Austin Health ?
13. I have more questions about my procedure / operation - where do I find out more information ?
Q: Will I be asleep for my surgery ?
A: Going to 'sleep' is also known as having a general anaesthetic. All major operations (e.g. prostate, bladder and kidney removal, stone procedures) require a general anaesthetic. Some small procedures we perform with the patient awake or under light sedation, along with local anaesthetic. These include: flexible cystoscopy, removal of stents, prostate biopsy (TRUS) and vasectomy.
Q: How many days will I be in hospital ?
A: Most small procedures (those mentioned above) are done as a 'day-case', meaning you return home the same day. Some low-risk operations (requiring a general anaesthetic) are also done as day-case procedures. For example: rigid cystoscopy, bladder biopsy, ureteroscopy and stone fragmentation, vasectomy and hydrocele repair. Operations requiring hospital stay include: removal of bladder tumour (TURBT), resection of the prostate (TURP), organ removal, pyeloplasty and urethra procedures (e.g. artificial sphincter). Hospital stay depends on the operation and rate of recovery, but ranges from around 3 - 14 days.
Q: How long do I have to fast ?
A: When you are put to sleep (have a general anaesthetic) you have to fast for a minimum of 6 hours. This includes both solids and liquids. It is generally advised to fast from midnight the day before a morning procedure and from early morning (7AM) the same day for an afternoon procedure. If you are not fasted for long enough you run the risk of your procedure or operation being cancelled.
Q: When can I eat and drink after my procedure ?
A: After a general anaesthetic you are usually restricted from having a drink for 3 - 4 hours and will be instructed by nursing staff when it is safe for you to do so. For minor operations most people return to normal diet the day following a procedure. Bear in mind this can be delayed by the after-effect of the anaesthetic and medications. After cystectomy (removal of the bladder) and ileal conduit or bladder reconstruction ('neobladder') operations patients are often keep fasting or on a restricted diet post-operatively for the few days to allow the gut to recover.
Q: What is a 'stent' ? and when can it be removed ?
A: A stent is a narrow plastic tube that is inserted and left behind in the ureter (pipe connecting the kidney to the bladder) with one end in the kidney and the other in the bladder. It allows the kidney to drain freely in case there is a potential blockage e.g. a stone. They can sometimes cause lower back or abdominal pain when you urinate but this is normal. Intermittent blood in the urine can also be caused by a stent. Very occasionally they can be associated with a urinary infection. Stents are not permanent and are usually removed around 2 - 4 weeks after they are inserted. Stent removal is usually done under local anaesthetic (you are awake) and is a relatively quick and painless procedure. If you have had a stent in for longer than 6 weeks and do not have a removal appointment - please contact our department
Q: I am having my prostate removed but how long does my catheter stay in for afterwards ?
A: Usually 2 - 3 weeks. After prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) patients go home with a catheter but nurses educate you and your family how to look after the catheter. On discharge from hospital you should be automatically booked in for a 'Trial of Void' (removal of catheter). (see below)
Q: I have heard that after my prostate is removed I will be incontinent of urine, is this true ?
A: Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leak of urine. Most patients after removal of the prostate experience this in the immediate post-operative period after the catheter has been removed. Most patients will eventually be continent, but around 1 in 5 people experience mild - moderate incontinence. Physiotherapy and pelvic floor exercises can significantly improve return to normal urine function.
Q: I have blood in my urine after my operation to remove or disintegrate a kidney stone - is this normal?
A: It is very common to have haematuria (blood in the urine) after an operation to remove or disintegrate a kidney, ureter or bladder stone. This is due to the inflammation of the procedure and the remaining stone fragments. Drink plenty of water. Most haematuria will resolve spontaneously. However, you should seek medical attention if you have any of the following: inability to pass urine, the bleeding persists continuously for more than 36 - 48 hours, continuous 'fresh' (bright red) bleeding, dizziness or fainting, or passing large amounts of blood clots.
Q: I was told I would be booked for a 'Trial of Void' (removal of catheter) - how do I find about my appointment date/time?
A: 'Trial of voids' take place in the Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC). Please call 03 9496 4809 to see if your referral has been received and an appointment has been allocated. If the ACC does not have a referral for you please contact the Urology Nurse Consultants on 03 9496 4915.
Q: I have more questions about my procedure / operation - where do I find out more information?
A: If you know the name of your procedure please try the services page for more information. There are patient information leaflets available to download, as well as useful links and videos. If you are uncertain on the specific name of the operation you can try the conditions page, which explains common urological conditions and associated procedures / operations.. If you have tried these and are still unsure, please call the bookings nurse on 03 9496 5957.