Is it normal to have swelling under my incision?
It is not unusual to develop a firm ridge under the skin incision after most surgical procedures. This usually develops over 7 to 10 days postoperatively and resolves completely in 6 to 12 weeks. This is especially common under breast biopsy or lumpectomy scars and with inguinal hernia repairs. The ridge can also be felt under small laparoscopic or robotic tracer incisions. Swelling associated with severe pain or bruising, especially within a few days of surgery, is not typical. If you experience such swelling, please call the office for an evaluation.
What can I do for constipation after surgery?
It is common for constipation to develop after surgery. The primary causes of constipation include:
- Anesthesia and Pain Medication. Narcotics given during the surgery and prescribed for postoperative pain can slow the normal gut transit time.
- Dehydration. It is typical to experience some degree of dehydration around the time of the operation due to changes in the diet and fluid intake.
- Inactivity. Patients tend to be less active after a surgical procedure due to discomfort.
Most of the time, constipation will resolve on its own with adequate intake of liquids and return to normal activity levels. If it does not, a natural approach with prunes or prune juice can help. Two of the most common over-the-counter remedies for constipation are Milk of Magnesia (MOM) and Miralax. Please follow instructions on the product label.
For patients with chronic constipation or for severe cases, an enema may be necessary. If at-home remedies fail, please contact our office for further instructions.
How long does it take to get the results of a pathology report?
For the minor in-office procedures where a needle biopsy is performed, a pathology report is usually available in 2 to 3 working days. For larger procedures, such as colon resections or mastectomies, the pathology report may take as long as 5 days. For genomic tests such as Oncotype DX or MammaPrint, the report may take 10 to 14 days. For expanded genetic panel testing, a report may take as long as three weeks.
Your physician or the office staff will make you aware of when you can expect your pathology report. If you have a procedure with pathology, do not assume that the lack of a called report implies a good report. Always call to get your results if you have not heard from the office in a reasonable amount of time.
If I have medical insurance, does it cover all of the expenses for my office visit, procedures done in the office, or my surgical procedure?
It is very rare to have medical insurance that covers 100% of the bill for services rendered in the office or the operating room. Most insurances now have a copay for specialist office visits, and you should come prepared to pay that amount. The physicians have a contract with your insurance company to collect that copay, and you are required by your contract with the insurance to pay that amount. Most insurances pay for only a portion of the bill for any office procedure or surgical procedure, so you will be expected to pay for the outstanding amount, once your insurance company has paid.
What is the best way to handle problems after office hours or on weekends or holidays?
There is always a surgeon on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you are experiencing a problem that you believe requires attention, call our office at (478) 750-8606 to obtain contact information from the phone recording for the on-call physician or nurse practitioner. If, for any reason, you have difficulty contacting the on-call physician, please proceed to your nearest emergency room. If you believe the emergency is life threatening, please call 911.