Know what, when and where

A Mitrofanoff procedure is major abdominal surgery. Your post surgical care, antibiotics and pain management will be complex and well planned. Before you go in for your surgery try to find out which medications are going to be administered, how often and how they will be given to you. Analgesics for pain relief, fluids and antibiotics will be administered for a few days post-surgery. You are entitled to read the hospital charts and care documentation relating to your treatment.

Learn the names of medications, the doses, the rate or how often. Take notes to refer to later and for others to use while looking after you at home.

Some medications will be administered through an IV (intravenous) line, some orally or maybe even through an epidural which is a fine tube inserted low in your back into the spinal cord.

Ask your surgeon about the possible side effects and what you are likely to feel after the medicine has begun, for example Gentamicin can give urine a pungent smell, Morphine can make some people very sleepy or nauseous. If you understand what to expect you will feel more in control, better prepared and able to cope. Importantly, you will see all the side effects are related to a particular treatment and they will end when the course has finished. This will give you something to look forward to, turning a negative into a positive.

Pain medication and the management of pain is something you should be particularly aware of. While you are recovering from surgery it’s important to keep up with your pain medication. There is no reason for anyone to be in pain and once pain starts to build in intensity it becomes harder for medication to relieve it. If pain has started to creep in, make this known to the nurse immediately and ask if there is something more that can be given to help relieve it. Some discomfort can be associated with being tense and stressed. More information about relaxation techniques and complimentary pain management techniques are in our Wellbeing pages.

Never take medications that were not prescribed by your surgeon. If a well-meaning friend hands you an Ibuprofen based tablet (Nurofen, Advil, Motrin, Herron Blue etc) or Paracetamol (Panadol, Herron) or a natural or herbal supplement, don’t take it. Your medications have been very carefully planned out and balanced in relation to the other medications being administered and an overdose of pain medicines can cause irreversible kidney and liver damage.

Natural and herbal supplements can reduce blood clotting, interact with prescription medicines or cause toxicity and adverse side effects. Ask your surgeon about any natural or herbal supplements that you are considering taking or take on a regular basis.