Planning Questions Before Traveling to South Carolina for Surgery
I’m planning for the week of my surgery. I need to prepare my transportation to South Carolina, make hotel arrangements after my hospital stay, estimate when I can return to my home state, how many PTO days I need, and when I can work from home. With that, I have a few practical questions.
If the day of my surgery is Tuesday, when will my hospital stay start? Per the supplied Yellow Instruction Book, I need to set up an appointment the day before surgery. Do I need to book a hotel for the night before surgery?
You are correct. You’ll have a pre-op marking appointment on the Monday before surgery. You’ll want to spend the night here locally. Your pre-op marketing appointment will be set up for you once everything is finalized for surgery after your initial consultation with Dr. Craigie.
If my surgery starts at 7:30 a.m., what time should I arrive at the hospital?
With a surgery start time of 7:30 a.m., you should arrive at the hospital between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m.
Does the hospital require a support person to stay with me? Are there any requirements for the support person?
There is no requirement for a support person. You’ll have nurses assigned to you to help you with everything you need.
Can I have a support person with me? If yes, can this person be in the hospital 24 hours a day? Can a support person sleep in my hospital room? Is there a cot/sofa available?
You can have one person stay with you the whole time. They can sleep in the room with you and also come and go some—for example, to get food or something to eat. The hospital supplies a cot.
When will my hospital stay end?
We expect that you’ll be in the hospital for three nights. With surgery on a Tuesday, you’re most likely to be discharged by end of the day on Friday.
Do I need the support person to move me from the hospital to the hotel?
You can’t be discharged from the hospital without someone with you to drive you home, so make sure your support person is there at the time of discharge. Your support person should also come to hear the post-operative care instructions you are given, too.
Will I be able to take care of myself (after DIEP) at the hotel, or will I need somebody to help care for me?
You’ll be able to provide basic care for yourself, but it’s good to have someone to help. You may need some assistance with dressing, getting up from chairs or beds, getting in and out of a shower, drain management, etc. For the first month following surgery, you’ll have limited use of your arms. You’ll want to keep things you need at chest level so you don’t have to reach up or out. You won’t be able to drive for a minimum of three to four weeks.
When can I expect during after-surgery appointments?
Your first follow-up will be the Monday after your surgery. Again, this will be set up once everything is confirmed at your consultation with Dr. Craigie. We don’t typically schedule any further in-person follow-ups until we see you that Monday following your surgery. The next visit or two can be completed via telemedicine. After all, we don’t want you to make a trip back to South Carolina once you’re home unless absolutely necessary!
When can I return to my home state?
Most patients can head home after the first Monday follow-up appointment. You’re welcome to stay in South Carolina for a few extra days or however long you wish, but it is not required. If you stay in the area, we are happy to see you as often as you like before you head home. Since Dr. Craigie is in surgery Tuesdays through Fridays, any other follow-ups would likely be with myself or another PA/NP.
Whom can I contact for the after-surgery care when I’m home? Will it be my previous breast doctor, or do I need to contact another plastic surgery doctor in my area?
Once you’re home, you likely won’t need any special aftercare. Most patients can remove remaining drains with the help of a friend or family member—it doesn’t have to be a nurse or doctor. Our team can always do a virtual visit to walk you through removal, too. If you had any wound healing problems or other minor issues, we can manage those from afar. Your previous breast doctor can remove drains, but it isn’t required.