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Lifting After Robotic Surgery Lifting After Robotic Surgery

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Unread 09-26-2009, 10:25 AM
Lifting After Robotic Surgery

Hi All,

I'm Shannon and about to have robotic surgery (total hysterectomy) on Oct. 19th. I'd never heard of this type of surgery until a few weeks ago and this site has been tremendously helpful.
My dr referred me to a gyno/onco because she felt I would do well with robotic surgery and she does not perform it. I had a few concerns after meeting with him.
I am one of the primary caregivers of my Mom. She is in moderate stages of Alzheimers and I have recently retired to help her. She also has major physical limitations and needs much assistance with getting around. She weighs about 180 lbs and with meds is often not able to help much physically.
I addressed my concerns with this new dr and asked him when I would again be able to help care for and lift my Mom. He told me "the next day". I could not believe this after reading posts here. I know I will have external and internal stitches and do not want to do anything to compromise my surgery or have additonal complications.
I also asked about HRT since I knew when my sister had emergency hysto she immediately went into surgical menopause in recovery. He said they take the wait and see approach. There is a history of cancers in my family, including breast cancer, and I know of the possible risk of HRT with this. I just don't want to be in the throws of full-blown menopause immediatley after surgery.
I meet with my regular ob/gyn again on Monday and will address these things with her. Just wanted some input from those of you that have been there. Thanks so much for having this wonderful site. There is so much information and compassion here. I have learned so much already and find myself drawn here each day. Thank you all.

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Unread 09-26-2009, 10:40 AM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

I was told that there are people who returned to work the next day. I'm in good shape (I worked out about 12 to 15 hours a week prior to my surgery) and I thought I would be one of the people with speedy recovery.
Honestly. I was completely drugged up still the day after the surgery. I was hardly able to get our of the bed. They discharged me though. The third day I was able to get up and move around.
I had my surgery 9/15 and I feel great. However, my lower abdomen (where my uterus used to be) is still very tender (inside). Before I had my surgery, I thought I would start stretching right away. However, even if I have a lot of energy, I would not in a million years lift anything heavy or go for a walk without my tummy support. I just feel it, something could go really bad inside of me if I did anything fast, sudden or something that needed strength. You have no idea in how much your abdominal area is involved in before you're in a situation where you have to be careful, like after a major surgery.
My guess is that you can start lifting her earliest 6 weeks after. You are able to help her in any other way (cooking, dishes, laundry...) in probably a week.
By the way, my dr. said I can start doing abs two weeks after surgery. I have/had strong ab muscles (a six pack), but right now - 3 days till 2 weeks post-op - and just the thought of any kind of ab exercises make me sick.
Unread 09-26-2009, 11:53 AM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

I had the DaVInci robot on Sept 18 at 730am and was home by 600pm. I still have to remind myself that I did have MAJOR SURGERY. I am a RN and I work on a GYN surgerical floor. My Dr who is a GYN/ ONC said no lifting, pushing, pulling or tugging for 6-8 weeks. I will be back to work on Oct 6th, without lifting a patient someone esle will have to do that part. I really have felt pretty good. I have had some pain but it's not extreme. My lower abdomen too is still tender. Everyone is different and progresses at different paces. But I will do no lifting for at least 6 weeks. I do plan to go to the gym and walk but nothig else for 6 weeks. I am still amazed at this surgery and easy it has been for me. I praise God for his goodness to me during my recovery.
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Unread 09-26-2009, 12:04 PM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

Shannon -

I had the robotic surgery and in my humble opinion there is no way that I could have lifted 180lbs the next day!

My gyn-onc gave me the same lifting restrictions as he would have given for an abdominal procedure because you are still having the same things out just without the large incision. The small laproscopic incisions can still herniate and stitches can still pop and tear.

My lifting restrictions were in place for 12 weeks and I was still worried (I was a slow healer) so I didn't do major lifting for around 6 months.

you only get 1 chance to heal.

Unread 09-26-2009, 12:07 PM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

6 to 8 weeks is when you can start lifting & pushing things again. No way should you be lifting the day after a surgery. You will still be loopy from the medication if nothing else. You don't want to twist because you could cause adhesions or other problems down the road. You may feel great but you will have just had major surgery. Please be careful.
Unread 09-26-2009, 12:16 PM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

Not only are lifting restrictions the same for this sort of surgery as for other types, but once you can return to your regular routine, you need to "ease" back into it. In other words, you can't just start carrying around 50+ pounds as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Additionally, everyone heals differently. There's no magic formula we can use to tell you when you'll feel like doing any given task. And there's no way to rush the healing, either -- but you CAN hurt the healing by doing too much, too soon.

To be safe, I'd find someone to come in and help with your mom's care for several weeks after surgery. You can be there for emotional support and can probably do some things that don't involve lifting as you feel able; however, the lifting will need to wait, I'm afraid.

Unread 09-26-2009, 12:58 PM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

Originally Posted by ShannonH View Post

I also asked about HRT since I knew when my sister had emergency hysto she immediately went into surgical menopause in recovery. He said they take the wait and see approach. There is a history of cancers in my family, including breast cancer, and I know of the possible risk of HRT with this. I just don't want to be in the throws of full-blown menopause immediatley after surgery.
My original doctor told me the same thing because of family history (mom had ovarian, cervical, breast and colon cancer and her sister had breast cancer) and because I had blood clots in my lungs in 2004 (with no known cause) but the new doctor I found is registered as a menopause specialist and said that I can have the patch the day after surgery and he will continue HRT that way with low dose asprin every day and be followed by a hemotologist (for the clot issue) and himself. I felt so much better knowing I would not have to face menopause alone. Ask to see if this is an option for least the patch part (not sure you need the asprin for you)
Unread 09-26-2009, 02:36 PM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

I had the robotic surgery and had a very good recovery BUT you have had major surgery so increase slowly. I was advised by the dr. not to lift more that 10 ponds for the first 2 weeks and move up slowly from there. Good luck to you.
Unread 09-26-2009, 02:55 PM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

I often wonder with new procedures -like davinci - if the docs are repeating what the sales reps have told them. I have found the expectations presented for the davinci to be way out of my range. I had the "new" cryoablation last Jan and not only did I find it excrutiating to be awake for it, I injured myself when the doc said I was free to return to all activity and I went out dancing. (2 different docs).

I am very thankful for this sight!
Unread 09-27-2009, 08:56 AM
Re: Lifting After Robotic Surgery

Thank you all for your replies. I just looked at the dr like he was crazy. I know he is a very good surgeon, but I guess since I don't have cancer (hopefully), he saw this as no big deal. It is a huge deal to me and I want to do everything I can to help my body heal properly. There is no way I will be lifting before 4-6 weeks at the soonest. I already have lower back problems and the lifting is very difficult for me. I have spoken with my father and brother about getting additional help while I'm recovering. I'm sure I'll have tons more questions for my sisters here. I'm really nervous about this. I've had surgery in the past, but nothing this major. Thanks again.


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