When you're planning your recovery from surgery, you probably have questions. At UnityPoint Health – Trinity, we coordinate your care to make the healing process easier on you. Our care teams address all of your surgery needs, including comprehensive follow-up care.
Read about what you can expect in the days after surgery, including tips for how to help your body heal at home.
After Surgery: What to Expect
Once the surgeon completes your procedure, a member of your care team will take you to one of our recovery rooms. We will closely monitor you until the anesthesia (pain medication) wears off.
You may experience varying degrees of discomfort from the incision site or anesthesia. Some people notice a mild sore throat due to the tube placed in your mouth during anesthesia. You may have soreness or bruising near the IV site that typically lasts a few days.
We encourage you to be open about any discomfort you may feel. In many cases, we can offer medication to help you manage pain or nausea after surgery.
Soon after surgery, you may feel unsteady on your feet. This is common. Your doctor or nurse will give you specific instructions for what to do after surgery, including when it's safe to try walking. We will help you slowly increase your activity so you can avoid injuring yourself. Your body needs time to heal, and we encourage you to rest when you feel tired.
Your doctor will decide when it's safe for you to go home. Listen closely to your doctor's instructions, and please ask questions if anything we've explained is unclear.
Please make sure someone is available and prepared to drive you home from the hospital.
Doctors usually advise against driving immediately after surgeries that require a hospital stay.
Recovering From Surgery at Home
Healthy eating can speed your recovery and get you back to your normal routines faster. Your care team will offer tips about the foods you can eat in the days after surgery.
You can also take other steps to prevent infection and help your incision heal quickly:
- Follow your doctor's instructions on how to care for your incision.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before touching the incision area.
- Keep the area near your incision clean and dry.
- Avoid soaking your incision site for long periods (such as in a bath).
- Don't smoke.
After Surgery: When to Call Your Doctor
Everyone recovers from surgery differently. If you have any concerns that what you're experiencing isn't a normal part of the recovery process, please reach out to your care team. If you believe your symptoms could be life-threatening, always call 9-1-1.
In general, you should call your doctor if you experience any of these signs after you've left the hospital:
- You have a fever.
- Your incision becomes very red, swollen or painful or has a foul discharge.
- You notice bleeding or an opening near your incision.
- You feel overly tired or groggy or continue feeling pain an hour after taking medication. Either of these signs may lead your doctor to adjust your medication dosage.
- You experience nausea, vomiting, redness or other symptoms that can't be easily explained.
Patient Guide to Surgery
At UnityPoint Health, our care teams work hard to coordinate all the details of your surgery seamlessly. Learn more about what to expect:
Find a surgeon that fits your unique needs, easily. To connect with a member of our experienced surgical care team, please call 309-779-5960 in the Quad Cities or 563-264-9245 in Muscatine.