After surgery you will be taken to the recovery room for an hour or two before going to your room. If you have family or friends present, the surgery team will come out to talk to them after the operation. You will have an IV in your arm and a Foley catheter (bladder catheter). The Foley catheter will remain in place for one or two days. While in the hospital you will start on mechanical foot compression pumps and an oral blood thinner to prevent blood clots. The nurses will make sure you are comfortable and positioned in such ways as to prevent pressure sores. You will have blood tests drawn each morning to check your blood level. In the rare event your blood level is low and you are having symptoms such a low blood pressure and an increased heart rate, a blood transfusion may be ordered. Each morning, the surgical team will come by to check on you. This will include your surgeons, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. The epidural or PCA will be discontinued, usually after two days. A physical therapist will come each day to start teaching you to move around and to become more independent. You will learn skills such as transfers to and from your wheelchair, bedside commode, etc. Once you are mobile enough, you will be discharged from the hospital with instructions.
The hospitalization is usually 3–4 nights. This is in a private room on the newly renovated surgical care unit in the Waters 3 Pavilion at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Some patients lose enough blood to require a blood transfusion after surgery. Therefore, auto donation is an option but not required. We use blood from the blood bank if needed. The loss of blood occurs not only during surgery but also after surgery for a couple of days. The transfusion, if needed, almost always occurs one or two days after surgery. The risks are very minimal. Two percent of our patients require transfusion. To prevent the need for transfusion we give intravenous iron infusion in recovery room to all patients.
Prior to discharge, you will be given a wheelchair and a walker to take with you. You will be taught how to do transfers to your chair and toilet. You will either receive crutches in the hospital or during your outpatient physical therapy.
At discharge, you will be given prescriptions for medications to take for the first few weeks after discharge. The cost of these medications is the patient’s responsibility. Insurance will not usually cover the cost.
Blood thinner to prevent blood clots – Aspirin
After discharge, you will need to arrange a place to stay in West Palm Beach for the duration of the lengthening. There are a variety of options available. For more information on the various housing options, see Accommodations.
Most patients will stay at one of our extended stay hotels conveniently located on 45th Street, a few miles west of the Paley Institute and St. Mary’s hospital. Prices increase from September through April, as that is the busy season in West Palm Beach. Please book as far in advance as possible, especially in season. Patients staying at the extended stay hotels are provided with a complimentary shuttle service between the hotel and the Paley Institute.
The extended stay hotels:
Homewood Suites by Hilton – 561.682.9188
Residence Inn by Marriott – 561.687.4747
Springhill Suites by Marriott – 561.689.6814
Doubletree By Hilton – 561.689.6888
Patients are not required to stay at the extended stay hotels. You are welcome to arrange your own housing needs, and many patients choose to rent a condominium or house or stay at another hotel. If you stay somewhere else, you will be responsible for arranging your own transportation for physical therapy.
Complimentary wheelchair transportation vans are available to take you to and from the hotel to the hospital only if you stay at the extended stay hotels: Homewood Suites, Residence Inn, and Springhill Suites. The transportation service we use is Priority Care Transit and can be reached at 954.482.0119 and toll-free at 866.916.4062, or via email at email@example.com. For more information, please see Travel Information.