Frequently Asked Questions

Most patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgery (MIS). While in the early years of MIS, there were many contra-indications for this approach, today with our increased experience in this field, majority of elective operations of digestive system can be attempted either laparoscopically or robotically. Surgeons specialized in minimally invasive surgery have a higher success rate with this approach and lower incidence of conversion to open surgery during the procedure.

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of minimally invasive surgery: Laparoscopic and Robotic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is the more common approach, but robotic surgery has increasingly gained popularity among digestive surgeons since 2014, when improvements in robotic technology offered new capabilities for complex procedures. Both options are superior to open surgery with regards to post-operative pain and patient recovery. Each offers specific advantages and should be utilized selectively.

Factors that determine the approach used include nature of surgery, patient characteristics, surgeon training, facility equipment, etc. Dr. Zaré believes the ideal approach for each procedure is the safest and the least invasive approach. For the most complex procedures like minimally invasive colon resection or paraesophageal hernia repair, robotic surgery has added advantages over laparoscopic surgery and is our preferred approach. For other procedures like vertical sleeve gastrectomy, due the unique need for maximum staple line strength and integrity, laparoscopic surgery with Tristapler technology offers superior results. For inguinal hernia repair, totally extra-peritoneal tension-free repair is the gold standard and the safest approach, and since it can only be performed laparoscopically, that is the favored approach. For procedures with lower complexity such as removal of gallbladder, laparoscopic surgery is generally preferred, as robotic surgery may not offer tangible advantages.

Depending on the nature of surgery, your operation may take between 30 minutes to few hours. Recovery following laparoscopic surgery is much speedier and hospital stay is significantly shorter.

Depending on the type of surgery you may be discharged home on the day of surgery (e.g., gallbladder surgery) or the next day (e.g., hiatal hernia repair, fundoplication, Heller myotomy, surgery on the stomach, etc). Sometimes patients will spend 2-3 nights (e.g., colon surgery) to resume bowel function before discharge. In general, hospital stay for laparoscopic surgery is significantly shorter than the stay for open surgery.

No. Because of anesthetic drugs and pain medications, you will not be able to drive immediately after surgery. A responsible adult will need to accompany you home.

For most laparoscopic gastrointestinal operations, on the day of surgery most patients are able to return to their normal daily activities such as getting in and out of the bed, walking, going to the bathroom, climbing stairs, etc. Within one week many patients are able to return to work. In general, during the first 2-3 weeks after surgery, patients can resume mild to moderate physical activities and exercise like jogging, but are advised to avoid strenuous activities or lifting more than 20 lbs. After that, patients can resume more strenuous activities.

Yes. Since most incisions receive surgical glue, shower can be resumed immediately after surgery. Bathing can resume after 2-3 weeks.

No. Incisions will have absorbable sutures under the skin, and surgical glue on the skin. The glue will stay for 2-3 weeks, after which it may start peeling off. At that time, the blue can be removed manually.