Post-Surgery Care – Dos and Don’ts for a Smooth Recovery

Adherence to medication prescribed and the instructions of your doctor is crucial to a smooth recovery process. Before surgery, inform your physician of any over-the-counter or supplements you take that could interact negatively with prescription medicines.

Be sure to arrange transportation in advance if needed for any follow-up appointments, ensuring your medical team can identify potential issues early and quickly address them.

Take It Easy

One of the most frequent mistakes post-surgery patients make is undertaking too many activities too soon. Resuming your usual schedule too quickly may seem appealing, but doing too much too soon could impede recovery.

Rest and avoid straining the surgical site is key in order to avoid irritation or infection. Furthermore, it is advisable to set up a support system immediately following your procedure; for example a friend or family member could wake you up to take medications, help get to the bathroom, prepare food or prepare your meal if needed. Occasionally hiring a home care nurse could also prove useful.

Attending regular follow-up appointments is also crucial in order for your medical team to monitor your healing progress, remove stitches or staples as necessary, and address any concerns that arise. Skipping these visits could delay or impede recovery – and should generally allow you to return to normal within two weeks after most surgeries.

Manage Pain

Though the temptation is to “tough it out” or skip physical therapy and follow-up appointments, taking pain medicine as prescribed speeds up recovery while decreasing risk factors like blood clots or lung or urinary infections. Be wary of taking alcohol or herbal remedies over-the-counter; both can thin your blood and interact negatively with certain prescription drugs.

Your doctor may have placed an IV catheter into your arm or hand for fluids, sedatives, antibiotics and pain medicines. Some hospitals now offer patient-controlled analgesia so you can regulate your own dose with just the touch of a button.

Have someone close by who can assist with the recovery process is invaluable, from reminding you about medications to helping with walking or going to the bathroom. If this person cannot be found within your family or friend group, healthcare teams often suggest home health agencies as an option.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

Though it can be tempting to jump right back into your daily activities after surgery, doing so could irritate or infect your wounds and prolong healing times. Remember that rest is often the best remedy.

Consuming sufficient nutrition after surgery is another essential component of post-surgery care. While you may lose your appetite post-op, eating a diet rich in proteins will speed recovery while mitigating side effects from anesthesia use.

If you require antibiotics or other medications post surgery, take them exactly as instructed. Skipping doses could contribute to antibiotic resistance and make future infections harder to treat.

If you need major surgery, make arrangements for someone over 18 to stay with you afterward in your home and give out discharge instructions, drive you to appointments, assist with bathroom, cooking, or any other necessary chores and provide any needed assistance such as assistance for bathroom, cooking or any other tasks as necessary. It may also be necessary to purchase equipment like a shower seat or walker beforehand.

Communicate with Your Care Team

Many patients don’t realize all of the changes that might need to be made at home in order to safely ambulate and navigate, such as clearing rugs or moving electrical cords out of the way. A pre-surgery consultation with healthcare professionals is invaluable in this regard.

As soon as surgery day has come, it’s vitally important that you abide by your doctor’s directions for taking medications, changing wound dressings, and returning to regular activities. At the same time, listen to what your body tells you: if something feels off balance don’t push yourself beyond its capability; doing so could result in complications and lengthier recovery periods.

Follow-up appointments are also crucial. While these consultations may seem unnecessary or like a waste of time, they allow doctors to monitor recovery and act swiftly should complications arise. They also serve to ensure the surgical site is healing correctly while adapting your prescription as necessary.


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