CSN Login
Members Online: 1

You are here

Surgical question

randyradiohill's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2017

I'm scheduled for a robotic partial neph on October 19th at Vanderbilt Medical Center.  I had a pre-op screening yesterday and they went over the procedure. The good news, I guess, is they said I was the healthiest patient they've seen in the past month.  Not sure if that makes me feel better or not...

Anyway,  it was explained to me that they would do an epidural block to numb me from the waist down.  They would then put me to sleep using the same stuff as when you get a colonoscopy which puts you in a twilight, but not like full anesthisia.  I wouldn't have a breathing tube which she explained would be much easier on me physically.

She explained they do it this way because it's much easier to control the pain with the epidural, and the recovery is much quicker and easier on my body.

I guess I never heard of this and was wondering if it's common and has everyone had it done this way?

I'm not really as worried about the surgery as I am about the recovery because the experiences I read on this board seems to run the gamut.

Thanks for any insight.  My anxiety level is increasing every day....lol

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3351
Joined: Jan 2010



I could tell you the surgery is painfree, but I would be laughed off this forum.




APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

I did not have an epidural and mine was an open partial. Recovery was pretty quick and the pain was very manageable. I was up walking the night of the surgery and home on the third day. Everyone says robotic is easier on you so in that case you'll be just fine. All the best to you!

Posts: 77
Joined: Jul 2012

Your current state of health has a HUGE impact on your recovery.  It sounds like you should bounce back quick as my wife did who is in great health as well.

I believe my wife had the epidural as she did have a breathing tube.

Good luck on the surgery.  We just got back from our five year scan results for my wife who had a very similar case to yours and she is cancer free.  I hope nothing but the same for you.

You are in our prayers!



lobbyist0724's picture
Posts: 467
Joined: Sep 2016

Hi Randy, I won't worry too much about it. I had the same concern when I was told that epidural will be used to manage the pain. But I have to say it helped me alot where I could sit up on the bed hours after the surgery (by myself) and was able to get off the bed the morning after. My doctor and nurse both mentioned that if I feel pain, then I won't heal well. Since if we can not rest well, how can we recover quickly. Anyways, I have no issue with the epidural after the surgery, no pain of any kind. It sounds scary, but I am glad the doctor suggested that and we can easily control the dose if needed.

Btw, I had an open surgery, so I am pretty sure you will be just fine ;)

Skagway Jack's picture
Skagway Jack
Posts: 224
Joined: Oct 2013

I had open surgery and they gave me a epidural...was the last thing I remembered before lights out.  It didnt hurt.  But post surgery was less than fun.  I cant really speak for lapriscopic.  Good luck youll be back at it before you know it.



donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1015
Joined: Feb 2009

My first surgery for cancer and mets to various (now non existent organs or parts thereof) was with an epidural and it went well for the 11.5 hours I was in the OR.  The second for a recurrences also was with an epidural; and because we had a 5-6 hour drive home from the hospital after I was discharged, I even took over the driving part of the time.

The thrd cancer surgery-another recurrence-was just IV and inhaled, administered by an Anesthesia Assistannt.  My body didn't handle it well and later that night they brought in the crash cart and had to administer Narcan to bring me back.

Epidural is my choice, hands down.


Posts: 489
Joined: Aug 2017

I had my partial robotic two weeks ago and did not have any assistance with pain and thus had a very bad week

All forgotten now of course

The pain is unavoidable but manageable especially if you will have an epidural 

The big thing is to be aware of just how tired you will be     


Good Luck and prayers for a speedy recovery



Bay Area Guy's picture
Bay Area Guy
Posts: 514
Joined: Jun 2016

I had a robotic partial and I had the regular total anesthesia; no epidural at all.

Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014

Can't speak to the epidural; you'd have to ask the wife about that... I had regular knockout juice.  But I do know that I've read several scholarly articles about doctors trying new things with the anesthisia.  It can be a ***** to recover from and slows the body's natural ability to bounce back from major surgery.  So anything that is "less destructive" on the body is interesting. 

stub1969's picture
Posts: 917
Joined: Jul 2016

Mine was the regular robotic with anesthesia--just like Bay Area Guy.


donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1015
Joined: Feb 2009

while lunching with a friend who just had a knee replacement, her orthopaedist and friend said that full recovery of the anesthetic effects to the body and brain take about a year and a half.

Yikes-that's 18 months.  No wonder I had problems in 2006-2008 and after.  I had 4 major and one day surgery in less than 24 months.  Three were for cancer, one was to repair a broken ankle and dislocated foot, and the day surgery was to repair my right thumb after developing "trigger finger" from walking with crutches for 7 weeks.

I would still prefer an anesthesia rather than the Civil War method of getting the patient drunk.

Hang in there.


Jan4you's picture
Posts: 1327
Joined: Oct 2013

Well, Welcome to our forum, Randy. I never even knew of epidural for RCC surgery..dang!

I think its a great idea as Gen Anesthesia meds can linger and affect one for awhile. 

You'll have Versed too so make sure you tell family/friends if you seem to repeat yourself. It has amnesiac affects. Wears off in couple of hours. 

I had epidural for C Section and did fine.

But I highly recommend to all having abdominal surgery that to me, the most discomfort is from the gas they use to pump UP your abdomen so surgeon can see around the orgrans. It gets trapped in weird places, like in your shoulder. As long as you know its only gas and not a complication you'll get through it. i used to wave my arm in circles and walk alot to get through it. 

I also wore a lumbar velcro wrap, used for folks with bad backs. It support those aching muscles/tissues. I even wore it to bed. Helps in getting up from sitting or laying down. I also would place ice packs over incisions (although they are very small) to reduce the swelling/edema, therefoe needing less opiates. 

We're here for you all the way! Anything that helps with recovery is great! You will start to feel better soon enough after surgery but DO NOT rush your recovery. Trust me, you can cause issues or make things worst. No exercise for at least 1 month I was told, so listen to your surgeon. 

Keep us informed. You'll get through it!

Sending you healing hugs,



Posts: 16
Joined: Aug 2017


I had my open left radical nephrectomy last August 18 at Vanderbilt. I had epidural as this was recommended by the anesthesia team for abdominal surgeries. My surgery went well despite it took 5 hours. I was given Versed on my way to the operating room so I was already out when I was intubated and inserted my Foley catheter. I had a reaction from the Dilaudid which was thru my epidural. My BP got so low and I felt so weak and nauseated. The anesthesia team adjusted the dosage and I felt fine afterwards. I was able to walk short distance in the hallway first day post op. 

I'm still recuperating. My left side is still numb and tightness on my incision when I stand up straight. I was told by my surgeon that these are all normal and will be feeling it it for a while. I was able to go out of state for a wedding last weekend with the permission of my surgeon as long as no heavy walking or dancing.

Good luck on your surgery. Vanderbilt is a great hospital with skilled and knowledgeable medical staff. I had Dr. Chang as my urology surgeon and he's the best. 

Posts: 415
Joined: Nov 2016

I am sending you good thoughts and prayers, I am sure you will be fine. I never had an epidural as far as I know, I had an open nephrectomy so I can't speak to your experience. Best wishes and  health to you!

randyradiohill's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2017

Magayon, my surgeon is Dr. Baracas.  Both he and and Dr Chang are regarded as the best at Vanderbilt.  I know they are very cutting-edge on different methods for surgery.  I was a little surprised when they said there would be no breathing-tube and I wouldn't be put under with regular anethesia during surgery.

I have this unnatural fear of waking up in the middle of surgery (I saw it in a movie once when I was a kid), but they assured me I would be completely out the whole time.  I do like the idea of not having heavy anethisia.  I had back surgery 20 years ago and had kind of a hard time recovering from that.

Thanks for the thoughts, advice, and prayers.  It is unnerving as the day gets closer.  Right now too much thinking is not my friend.

Angie1496's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: Sep 2017

Randy the fear of walking up during surgery  isn’t unnatural! I have fear every time I’ve had surgery!  My mind knows it’s unrealistic but I do still have moments when that creeps into my mind and I worry about it. I hope everything goes well for you! I’m 4 weeks post robotic partial and feel like myself again!  


hardo718's picture
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

Just general.  But they make so many advances all the time, I'm not surprised.  That's actually a good thing to be able to get thru it without having the breathing tube placed for a general.  No trauma to the airway.  Most anesthesiologists can place the tube without traumatizing the airway but every once in a while, like with anything I suppose, there's an oops.  Nevertheless, you will have either an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthesist at your bedside throughout the procedure monitoring your vitals, etc.  There are "signs" when a patient is light on sedation.  Feel free to confirm all of this with your anesthesiologist who you WILL meet before your procedure.  That is the time to ask your questions and keep asking until you are certain & happy with the responses.  You are your best advocate.

Best wishes,


JerzyGrrl's picture
Posts: 761
Joined: Jun 2016

Based on your "cutting edge" surgeon -- Let's hope so Laughing ! -- you ought to be up and jogging by now. Or at least up enough to be contemplating a bowl of that yummy hospital dietary classic, Red Jell-O.

All the best --

Subscribe to Comments for "Surgical question"