After Your Surgery
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. You may even be given a device which allows you to control your own pain medication.
If you experience nausea or vomiting after surgery, medication may be offered. You might have a mild sore throat due to the tube placed in your mouth during anesthesia. Any soreness or bruising from IVs 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 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 to have someone drive you home as driving is usually inadvisable immediately after surgery and during the following few weeks.
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
Reasons to call your doctor after you've left the hospital:
- 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 an hour after taking pain medication (it may not be strong enough).
- You experience side effects from your medication such as nausea, vomiting, redness, a rash or itching.