After Your Surgery

These basic after-care instructions should be employed in concert with any specific information your surgeon has given you. Please contact our office or your surgeon if you have any questions:

 

Pain Management:

Pain medication may be prescribed as needed.  The goal of pain medication is to allow you to be comfortable during your recovery and participate in activities that will help you recover. Please report any new, increasing, or unrelieved pain to your doctor.

 

Caring for your incision:

  • It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions about caring for your surgical site or incision area. Watch for any separation, bleeding, or signs of infection which include:
    • Redness
    • Pain
    • Swelling
    • Drainage of fluid or pus
    • Heat at incision site
    • Fever (which is usually a temperature of 101 ºF or higher)
  • If you notice any of these problems, call our office right away at 610-374-7720.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching your incision(s). Hand washing is the best way to prevent infection.
  • It is normal to have some numbness around the incision for some time after surgery. This may subside as the incision heals.
  • If you have been sent home with staples in your incision, you may shower with staples in place, unless your doctor told you otherwise.
  • If you have been sent home with sterile tape over your incision, you may shower, but be gentle around the tape. Use regular soap and water. Wash your incision gently, and then pat the incision dry.
  • Check with your doctor about applying creams or lotions to your incisions. Apply these only after the tape has fallen off or has been removed.
  • Avoid exposing your incision to the sun. This can cause the incision to become red. Scars turn white over time without exposure to the sun.

 

Constipation:

Anesthesia, pain medications and not drinking enough can possibly cause constipation after surgery. Here’s what you can do:

  • Drink more liquids, especially fruit juices like apple or prune juice.
  • Increase activity as advised by your surgeon.
  • Take over the counter stool softeners (like Colace) or MiraLax or Milk of Magnesia (start with half of the normal adult dose initially).
  • Use as little prescription pain medicine as tolerated.

 

Activity:

  • Your doctor will tell you specific activity instructions for your type of surgery. Please follow the discharge instructions given by your surgeon.
  • Generally, you should not lift objects heavier than 10 pounds for 6 to 8 weeks. Lifting heavy objects too soon may weaken your incision.
  • Do not expect your energy level to immediately return to normal. Your body needs more energy to heal, and this may cause you to feel weak or need to take naps.

 

Diet:

  • Please follow any specific dietary instructions given by your surgeon.
  • Eat small amounts until your activity level has returned. Bland food is better. Avoid greasy, fatty, spicy foods until you feel that your system can tolerate them.

 

Driving:

  • YOU MAY NOT DRIVE IF YOU ARE TAKING prescription pain medication.
  • You should have received follow up instructions when your were discharged after your surgery. If you are unsure of those instructions, please call our office at 610-374-7720.
  • As a general rule, you should NOT drive until you feel that your reaction time is back to normal and you feel well enough to operate the vehicle safely.

 

Follow up appointment:

  • Call our office at 610-374-7720 to schedule a follow up appointment as instructed in your discharge summary.
  • Some patients set up their post-op appointment at the time of surgery scheduling.

 

If you have more questions: