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How long to stay and how to travel

How long to stay in Eau Claire

There are a few considerations that come into play regarding our recommendations regarding how long to stay post-operatively.

  1. Is this a complex revision after previous failed surgery?
  2. How far away do you live?
  3. Does Dr Immerman have to see you for a one week post-op visit?
  4. Does Dr Immerman feel that he wants to be the one to remove your drain?
  5. Do you have some out-of-the-ordinary medical circumstances that might predispose to some post-op problem?

Straightforward situations:

For patients who have fairly mild pilonidal disease and have not had extensive, previous, failed surgery our main concern is that if there is some problem in the first 48 hours after surgery that you be able to come back and see Dr. Immerman if urgently needed. Although situations like this come up much less than 0.1% of the time we usually ask you to stay in the area for about 2 days just in case there is a problem. However, if you live only a few hours drive away, and if a problem came up you would agree to get in the car and come back to Eau Claire, we feel that is quite reasonable to go home the day of the procedure or the next morning.

You will need to have some plan for drain removal, and the options are to come back and see Dr. Immerman, have a local health-care provider remove it, or have a family member remove it. Dr. Immerman always asks that you communicate with him before having the drain removed.

Complex situations:

If you have had other operations, particularly ones that have removed significant amounts of skin, distorted the normal anatomy, or have left you with wounds near the anus, Dr. Immerman would like to be able to evaluate you around the 6th post-operative day. We understand that this can be a burden, but our goal is to have this operation be a success, and we want to play a close role in your recovery in whatever way might be necessary.

In most situations, by post op day 6 the drain is ready to come out, and Dr. Immerman will remove it during this visit, as well as evaluating your progress and going over wound care instructions that might be specific to your case. The situations where the drain does not come out are (1) if we suspect infection; (2) there was any post-op bleeding; or (3) the drainage amount is too high.

What about pain during travel?

Of course, every patient is different, and we can not predict your situation with complete accuracy, but after performing over 850 cleft lifts  here are some facts and general observations that should have some validity:

  1.  Dr. Immerman injects Exparel  (liposomal marcaine) which is a local anesthetic that slowly releases in the tissues over a three day period. Patients seem to notice that this works pretty well for 2-3 days, and many of our patients only use supplemental Tylenol, Motrin, or Advil for post op pain. Dr Immerman always prescribes something a bit stronger in case it is needed, but patients don’t  always end up using it. After that three day period, it is unusual for patients to have significant discomfort requiring prescription pain medications.
  2. In general, the more days elapse after any surgery, the more comfortable patients become, and this operation is no exception.
  3. We have NOT had patients relate to us that either flying or driving was a particular problem. Our advice is that however you would have traveled here and back in the normal situation is how you should travel here for surgery.
  4. Sitting is encouraged right after the surgery and there is no particular limit on how long a patient can sit. It is difficult to predict how uncomfortable a long plane or car ride will be, but we have not had feedback from patients that it was unmanageable.

What about cost?

There is no question that coming to Eau Claire to have surgery and recovery is not how you want to spend your vacation dollars! However, of the various cities you could be visiting for a situation like this, Eau Claire is relatively economical and easy to navigate. Our clinic, as well as the hospitals in town have discounted rates at the various hotels in town, and our recommendation (based on our patient’s experiences) is the Staybridge Suites, but there are many other options. The Staybridge Suites rooms have kitchens and the hotel is across the street from a large grocery store, and there are several restaurants within the area around the hotel. 

Travel To, From, and Within Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Patients who fly here usually land in the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport (MSP). It is a 90 minute drive from the airport to Eau Claire. Options for transfer from the MSP airport to Eau Claire include:

  1. Renting a car. Because of the pandemic, rental car rates have become quite expensive and this may be the most convenient,but there are other options as well.
  2. Airport Shuttle: Groome Transportation has a shuttle with 11 trips daily at $43/adult for a one-way transfer. (This may seem an attractive rate, but for two people it is $86 and drops you off at the edge of town at the Groome office. You will then need transport to your hotel by a taxi, Uber or Lyft.)
  3. Tesla transport for up to 4 people: Green Fleet
  4. Personal driver in Mercedes station wagon: Girl Friday
  5. Uber and Lyft : Transport from the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport to Eau Claire costs between $150-200 by Uber, depending on the kind of Uber service used, Lyft $140-220.

Once in Eau Claire, Uber, Lyft, or taxi’s are available, as well as Girl Friday for shuttling between hotel, hospital, clinic and pharmacy.

If you don’t want the hassle of driving yourself from the airport to Eau Claire, it is not unreasonable to use one of the above transfer options to get to Eau Claire, and then rent a car once in town. There are several rental car agencies in Eau Claire.