Image by Keith Ramsey CC BY-SA 2.0

Image by Keith Ramsey CC BY-SA 2.0

I had read about how da Vinci robotic surgery was supposed to be “minimally invasive.” What exactly does that mean? I guess it means less cutting, less blood loss, less trauma to the body and faster recovery time. Was the advertising legit? Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you how my surgery went.

The doctor removed my prostate gland (prostatectomy) with the assistance of a da Vinci robotic surgical system. As I woke up in the recovery room afterwards, I lifted the light blanket that was covering me, and all I could see were 4 or 5 “keyholes” or dime shaped marks on my torso or abdomen. They didn’t look like incisions – I couldn’t see any stitches – they just looked like a few black and blue marks.  Apparently I had just undergone “major” surgery and had only these keyholes as a reminder. (And now, months later, those keyholes have faded quite a bit, leaving almost no trace at all that I had anything done.)

Don’t get me wrong, groggily waking up from general anesthesia is not the greatest thing in the world, but as far as the surgery itself went, I felt nothing. The nurse asked me if I wanted anything for the pain, and I said what pain? Weird.

So after they wheeled me up to my hospital room after recovery, I was talking to my wife about how everything went (because she spoke to my doctor after surgery). It all apparently went well, so that was good news.

Now after being in my hospital room for about 3 hours, I ask the floor nurse if I could get up and take a walk. I’m not sure my doctor wanted me to do this, but I thought I’d check to see if it was allowable. I felt decent, so why not?

She says sure, we can do that. So off come those compression – pumper things that were attached to my lower legs (intermittent pneumatic compression devices). Then we unplug the IV stand from the wall, and away we go down the hall. Slow, baby steps, to be sure, but walking nonetheless.   It felt pretty dang good to be up and walking.

Now I wasn’t trying to be a hero and set some kind of record for running a marathon after surgery – in fact, if anything, I’m a firm believer in being conservative with my recovery. My philosophy is to take it easy and let everything heal properly.

But at the same time, I had read that getting up and being “vertical” after surgery was probably a good thing to do, and most importantly – I “FELT” like doing it.

I didn’t run laps around the hospital floor – we just walked maybe, I don’t know, 50 feet up and 50 feet back to my room? Something like that.

The main point I am trying to make is that the recovery from da Vinci robotic surgery was – for me at least – pretty fast. I walked 3 hours after surgery and then I walked again later that night, about 3:00 am – traveling an even further distance than before.

This was my case, and every case is different. You must follow your own doctor’s orders.