Once your operation has been completed, you'll be taken to the recovery room and monitored as the anesthesia wears off. If you need pain medication, simply ask.
If you experience nausea or vomiting after surgery, medication may be offered. You might have a mild sore throat if a breathing tube is placed in your mouth during anesthesia. Any soreness or bruising from an intravenous line (IV) should disappear in a few days.
At first, you are likely to be unsteady on your feet. The doctor or nurse will tell you when to try to walk. Your goal is simply to become active as soon as possible and to gradually increase your activity, while giving yourself time to heal. Rest when you feel tired. A nurse will give you more specific information if needed.
Healthy eating will speed your recovery. If you are in the hospital, you may be fed intravenously. When the doctor says you can begin eating, a dietitian will help you slowly ease back to a normal diet. If you are an outpatient, eat small amounts of easy-to-digest foods at first, or as directed by your doctor.
Tips to help your incision heal quickly:
- Follow instructions provided by your doctor or nurse on how to care for your incision and the dressing.
- To help prevent infection, wash your hands before and after touching the incision area.
- Keep the incision area clean and dry.
- Take warm showers instead of baths.
- Refrain from smoking as this delays wound healing.
Your doctor will determine when you should be discharged. Be sure you understand any instructions and ask any questions that you might have at this time. Please make arrangements with family or friends to drive you home as driving is not allowed immediately after surgery. We recommend you have someone with you at home for at least 24 hours following surgery.
Some topics you may wish to ask your doctor about include:
- Incision care
- Pain control
- Physical activity
- Resuming sexual relations
- Any follow-up visits
- Returning to work
- Preventing constipation
- Swimming pools and hot tubs
Reasons to call your doctor:
- You have a fever over 101°F (38°C).
- Your incision bleeds a lot, becomes more red, swollen or painful or has a foul discharge.
- Your incision opens. Lightly press a clean cloth to the incision to control bleeding.
- You feel too sleepy, dizzy or groggy (the medication may be too strong).
- You have pain that is continuously out of control, even after taking pain medication.
- You experience side effects from your medication such as nausea, vomiting, redness, a rash or itching.