FAQ

Who can receive copies of my medical information?

Due to our concern for patient confidentiality and legal requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, we only release personal medical information to the patient himself/herself and any individuals/entities for which we have written authorization from the patient.


I have questions about my surgery. How can I get answers before and after surgery?

We do have a nurse advice line (949) 364-1007 available during business hours for any questions. Your questions will be answered immediately or within hours.


My Surgeon advises me to have surgery. Now what do I do?

Each surgeon has his own secretary/scheduler. She will make all the necessary arrangements with the hospital/facility and obtain authorization from your insurance carrier. She will then call you with this information. She will mail verification of date, time, facility and procedure. You will receive orders for preoperative tests that my be required as well as a list of laboratory locations.  She will also send instructions for bowel preparation, diet or medication restriction. You will also receive aftercare instructions and follow-up appointment date and time.  


Will I have dressings to change?

For most surgical procedures you will have dressings covered by waterproof transparent dressings; this allows you to shower. We will remove dressings here at your first visit. Some procedures may require you to care for your site and we will instruct you in this. If you are unable to perform care, we will be happy to help arrange home care or perform wound care here in our office.


After my surgery, how long will I be off of work? When can I return to School or gym?

This depends on many factors including the type of surgery, type of work you do and the duties required. This will be discussed at your consultation. For healing of hernias and major abdominal wounds, our bodies generally require at least 6 weeks until they are strong enough for heavy lifting and abdominal exercises.  We do have the necessary disability forms available if needed and will take care of this for you. We can also send a letter to your employer, gym membership, etc. if needed.


What if I need a refill or medication ordered for me?

You will be given a prescription for medications before you are discharged from the hospital or surgery center. We offer a prescription refill line available during business hours. We will call you back, contact the surgeon and then call in the prescription for you the same day. 

Please note that not all prescriptions can be phone ordered for you; Percocet in particular requires a hand-written prescription which you will need to pick up and deliver to your pharmacy of choice.           

*It is important to make your request during business hours, because on call Surgeons will not be able to do this for you*

How can I obtain the results of my tests or pathology results?

In most cases your surgeon will want to discuss this with you himself, either in person or by phone.  In certain cases, our advice nurses can obtain results for you and discuss these with you on the phone. With your permission, we can also mail, fax or e-mail results when requested. We will also give you a copy at your first visit and fax a copy to all physicians involved in your care.

 
*Some cultures and specialty biopsies may require up to 14 days*

What do I do if I have urgent questions or problems after hours or on weekends?

SVSMG has a surgeon on 24 hour Trauma/Surgery call for Mission Hospital and can be reached for emergencies through our 24 hour (real person) answering service (949) 364-1007.

For life-threatening emergencies please call 911 and/or proceed directly to the nearest emergency room.  Please note that our surgeons provide 24 hour coverage to the Mission Hospital Emergency Department (949) 364-2202.


How long before I can travel?

We request that you delay travel plans as long as possible after abdominal surgery. But if you do travel after surgery we suggest that you ambulate often, elevate legs as much as possible and utilize compression stockings (men too!).

This will decrease venostasis and reduce to incidence of:
 
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  which is an occlusion of a vein by clot
 
or
 
Pulmonary Embolism ( PE)  which is a DVT that  breaks away from the vein wall and migrates to the lung where it impairs blood flow and gas exchange, potentially resulting in fatal circulatory collapse. The risks of this increases with age, type of surgery, hereditary conditions, trauma, cancer, reduced mobility, smoking, use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy.

What is the difference between laparoscopic and open procedures?

Laparoscopic procedures are "minimally invasive", in that they are done using a laparoscope and specialized instrumentation. This allows the surgeons to use smaller incisions  (5-10mm in size).  Patients have a shorter hospitalization and faster recovery.

 
Open procedures are done with the surgical site incision size appropriate for the surgeon to actually handle tissues directly.
 
There are many factors that determine which procedure is appropriate for each patient and your surgeon will discuss this with you during your initial consult.

Will I need to be on a special diet after surgery?

After most surgical procedures, you will gradually be able to return to your regular diet. If a special diet is recommended for recovery, you will be instructed before you are discharged. At any time, if you are not sure about your special diet, please call the nurse advice line for help. They can arrange counseling referral for Medical Nutrition Therapy available through Center for Rehab/Sports/Wellness.

 
Medical Nutrition Therapy includes:
 
Diabetes
Heart Disease
Hypertension
High Cholesterol
Weight Control
Vegetarian Nutrition
Renal Disease
Food Allergies
Weight Gain/Nutritional Support
Sports Nutrition
Celiac Disease
and Others

When can I resume sex?

After most surgical procedures, you may resume at your own comfort level. Usually 2-3 weeks.  

Please remember the weight lifting restrictions given for your particular operation when considering this and any other physical activity.


Will I need a drain after surgery? How do I care for it at home?

During your surgery, your Surgeon will determine whether or not a drain will be necessary. Before you are discharged you will be given care instructions that include a record keeping log. You will indicate time of measurement, amount and consistency of drainage.

You will need to bring this record with you to your postoperative visit. This allows us to evaluate your progress and determine when to remove your drain.

I am scheduled for surgery, but I think I may have a cold. What do I do?

Please call our office as soon as possible for any illness within one week of your scheduled operation. Your cold may resolve as your surgery date nears.  If you have symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (URI) or congestion we may cancel your surgery for safety reasons, as minor URIs can blossom into bronchitis and pneumonia following general anesthesia.  It is much preferred to cancel early and reschedule than to show up expecting an operation but be cancelled and sent home.  We can typically re-schedule your operation much earlier if we are given notice of a few days.

Your  anesthesiologist will contact you the night before your surgery regarding your health status.  You can also check with your primary care physician for preoperative treatment of symptoms.

 

I have questions about insurance coverage and billing.

As long as we have current insurance information on file, we will be able to arrange all preauthorizations. We do have a billing specialist in our office during regular business hours for immediate assistance.   


Why am I asked to show photo ID? This is to comply with the Identity Theft Prevention Program which was developed in order to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Prevention Red Flags Rule (16 CFR § 681.2).

Which of my medications should I take before my operation?

In brief, you may call and ask us any pre-operative medication related questions at any time.

That said, antiplatelet medications such as ASPIRIN and PLAVIX should be stopped at least 7 days before your operation.

COUMADIN (WARFARIN) should be stopped at least five (5) days pre-op.  Your blood test (INR) may be repeated on the day of your operation.

HEPARIN and LOVENOX doses should be held on the day of your operation.

In general, all blood pressure medications and asthma medications should be taken even on the day of surgery with a sip of water.


What does the title "FACS" mean?

The letters “FACS” after a surgeon's name indicates that he or she is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Fellows of the College are board-certified surgeons whose education, training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have been reviewed and evaluated prior to admittance and have been found to be consistent with the high standards of the American College of Surgeons. Not all surgeons are accepted into Fellowship in the College and there are some surgeons who may choose not to become Fellows. The letters “FACS” after a surgeon's name indicates that the surgeon has submitted to a process to obtain voluntary credential and performance evaluation by their peers. 

For further information, see the web site of the American College of Surgeons  www.facs.org/patienteducation/