After Surgery

It is important to follow the instructions that your nurse reviews with you at the surgery center. This gives you direction on what to do at home. Please do not hesitate to call your doctor with additional questions.

Pain- Our goal is to lower your pain level and make you as comfortable as possible. Being pain-free is not a reasonable expectation, however pain should be controlled enough to allow movement and coughing.

*Depending on the nature of your surgery, your physician may order pain medication from a pharmacy or you may be instructed to use an over-the-counter medication to make you more comfortable.

Nausea and/or vomiting- Relief from nausea or vomiting is also an important concern. You will drink fluids before being discharged from our facility.  Your diet at home will begin with bland foods and progress to your normal foods, unless otherwise directed by your surgeon.  If nausea and vomiting continue you will need to call your doctor.

*There are medications that can be prescribed to help relieve this problem. 

Swelling- You can expect some swelling and possible bruising around your surgical area.

* If possible, elevate your surgical area, this will help reduce the swelling you may experience.  A covered ice bag may also help reduce swelling, but make sure you do not get your bandage wet.  If the swelling worsens, you need to report it to your surgeon. 

Bleeding- Initially after surgery, you may have slight bleeding. However if the amount of bleeding increases, please notify your surgeon.

Constipation- A common side effect of pain medication and anesthesia is constipation.

*Increasing your fluid intake will help eliminate constipation and other complications, or a mild, over-the-counter stool softener may be helpful.  Please take as directed.

Normal Activity- The level of activity that is permitted by your surgeon varies widely with the procedure performed.

*Be prepared at home to have extra help for a few days with everyday activities such as driving, cooking, showering, etc.  If your recovery requires any restrictions your doctor and the nurses will inform you of this.

*If anesthesia was given you should avoid activities requiring mental alertness, such as driving, for 24 hours or while taking any narcotic medication.

Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or blood clot- A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can happen to anyone who has mobility problems or has had recent surgery.  As a post-surgical patient, it is important for you to know the risks, prevention measures, and symptoms of DVT.

A DVT is a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) develops in the deep veins of the body. A DVT can happen to anyone who has mobility problems or has had recent surgery. A major risk of a DVT is that clots that form in the veins can break apart and travel to other parts of the body, including the lungs. A blood clot in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). This type of clot can be life threatening and must be treated right away.

DVT (blood clot) Prevention Measures:

  1. Walk as soon as possible after surgery, within the prescribed guidelines of your surgeon.
  2. Maintain adequate hydration.
  3. Avoid constrictive clothing of the lower extremities.
  4. Participate in physical exercise as direct by your surgeon.
  5. Perform active and passive range of motion exercises, especially in the lower extremities as indicated.
  6. Avoid sitting with knees bent or legs crossed form long periods of time.
  7. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  8. Elevate legs when sitting.
  9. Perform frequent coughing and deep breathing exercises and change position when in bed.

Signs and Symptoms:

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

  1. Swelling of an extremity
  2. Redness or discoloration of an extremity
  3. Warmth of an extremity
  4. Tenderness or pain of an extremity.

Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

  1. Difficulty breathing
  1. Chest pain
  2. Rapid heartbeat or fainting
  3. Cough with or without bloody sputum

If you experience any of these symptoms call your surgeon as soon as possible or call 911 if your symptoms are urgent. These can be life threatening situations; rapid diagnosis and treatment is very important.  

Loss of appetite/Diet- It is normal to have a decrease in appetite after you receive anesthesia.   Try small, frequent meals until your appetite returns to normal.

Lack of energy- After receiving anesthesia, it is normal to feel drowsy for 24 to 48 hours.  These symptoms will gradually subside each day and you will feel less sleepy.

Incision Care- It is very important after surgery to keep your incision area clean and dry.

Follow your discharge instructions- It is important to follow the instructions that your nurse reviews with you at the surgery center.  This gives you direction on what to do at home.  If you have any questions that are not covered on the instructions, please do not hesitate to call your doctor.

Follow up with your doctor- A follow-up appointment at your surgeon’s office will be scheduled for you before you leave our facility.  This appointment will be either days or weeks after your surgery.

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