Surgery FAQ

How long will the tracheostomy tube stay in for?

Normally for about 5 days, depending on how swollen your face and mouth are following surgery. Also if you have been a heavy smoker prior to your operation, this may delay it being removed as you may be very chesty and have a lot of secretions.

When can I start to drink after my operation?

Usually after 5 days, but sips of water are usually allowed 24 to 48 hours after major surgery. After the surgery, inside your mouth and throat will be very swollen. The speech and language therapist will assess your swallowing technique and check you are able to get the fluid down without choking or spluttering.

How long will the stitches stay in for?

Stitches on the face can be removed after 5 days, whilst on the rest of the body 7-10 days

How long will the dressing stay on my arm/leg for?

The dressing will be taken off after ten days. The stitches will then be removed. A dry dressing is then normally placed over the wound site.

How long will I be in hospital for?

Normally for about 2-3 weeks depending on your recovery and how well you are able to get back to being independent. You WILL be encouraged to get up and about the ward and go for walks. This usually helps patients get back on their feet!

What will I look like after the operation?

Your face will appear very swollen immediately after the operation. This will gradually go down but may take several months. It sometimes takes time for you to come to terms with the altered appearance but there is plenty of support and help available.

Why does my shoulder feel sore and stiff after the surgery?

During the operation your Consultant may have taken lymph glands from the side of your neck. In order to do this successfully the main nerve that supplies function to your shoulder may need to be cut. This can leave you with 'a frozen shoulder'. The Physiotherapist will give you exercises to help.

What happens next?

Once you are feeling better and able to manage drinks and soft diet by mouth we will be planning for your discharge. Normally once you are home the District Nurses will visit each day to check that you are managing and also check any wounds and dressings. You will be given an Outpatients appointment and will normally be seen every month in the clinic. If you need radiotherapy this will be discussed at the first appointment after going home.