Douglas F. Milam M.D.
Placement of Artificial Sphincter
►Beginning the day you return home, you may climb stairs and move about your home for meals, go to the bathroom or to watch television. The most important thing one can do to minimize swelling and post-operative discomfort is to avoid standing except for brief periods for the first 3 post-operative days. After that, one can slowly increase activity as long as the post-operative discomfort is decreasing. Remember, even though we place local anesthetic during surgery and pain medications are prescribed for the post-operative period, post-operative pain is normal. Swelling and bruising are normal following this procedure and resolve without intervention in about 2 weeks. A padded ice bag applied to the surgical area may be helpful for the first 24 hours.
►Do not lift anything more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks. This is to prevent development of a hernia at the site where the pressure regulating balloon was implanted. Once the swelling and discomfort are largely gone you may begin purposeful exercise such as walking. Some people may require as much as six weeks for resolution of discomfort even though they are having a “normal” post-operative recovery.
►You may shower beginning the second day you are home, but do not take tub baths for three weeks. Pat dry your surgical incisions after you shower. The Steri-Strip tapes across your incision should remain on for at least one week. They support the skin closure, but, be assured that an absorbable suture line just under the skin is actually holding the incision together. Steri-Strips usually come off spontaneously after two weeks.
►Do not drive for one week. You may begin again when you are no longer taking pain medicine. Try a short trip around the block first, just to make sure you have recovered enough to begin driving in earnest.
►Gently pull the sphincter pump down into the scrotum each day.
►Do not have any sexual activity until all swelling and bruising has resolved and the incision is completely healed.
►You may eat the foods you normally eat. If you become constipated, drink eight to ten glasses of water a day and use Milk of Magnesia, which can be bought at any drugstore or grocery store without a prescription.
We plan post-operative appointments at 2 and 6 weeks with Todd Doran, our practice Physician’s Assistant, and at 3 months with Dr. Milam. The artificial sphincter will be activated at the 6 week visit and your continence should improve at that point. We are happy to see you at any other time if you feel that your post-operative course is not routine.
Call the urologic surgery practice 24/7 at (615-322-2880) if you have…
● Fever over 101ºF
● Redness or drainage from your incision
● Difficulty urinating
● If anyone wants or needs to place a urethral catheter, call before placement (615) 322-2880. The sphincter must be deactivated before passing a urinary catheter. This is very important!
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