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The Importance of Good Surgical Care

Updated on February 21, 2015

Your Decision for Surgery

So your doctor tells you it is time to have that surgery you have been putting off. All kind of thoughts may run through your mind, not the least, how will I recover? Here are some tips to help you along the way. Your hospital will send you home with a check list of how to care for your incision and when to return but there are other details you may be concerned about that no one has addressed.


Post Surgery Activiey

Your surgery is over and you are being discharged. Do you really know how to care for yourself ?Here are a few tips.

Research has shown that the sooner you get up and move around the quicker you will recover.

For the first few days you may not feel like doing much of anything but try to get up to bathroom and walk around your home in the morning when you are feeling the strongest. In warm weather you may even want to lounge in a recliner outside for 30 minutes or so and get some fresh air.

Your doctor will give you a schedule of activities if you have had surgery involving joints or muscles.

Try to schedule return appointments, physical therapy etc in the morning when you are feeling the best. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for your appointment without undue stress.

Keep important numbers near you in case you need to call your nurse or physician. If you have major surgery or are elderly have someone stay with you.

You might even think ahead and check out some good books from the library or rent some movies to entertain you while you recuperate.

Walking can help to prevent the possibility of blood clots. You may go home with special socks called TED's that help maintain the blood flow out of your legs.

Incision care Post Surgery

Photo of healthy incision healing
Photo of healthy incision healing

Incision care post surgery

Following your doctor's instructions is important. Can you get your dressing wet? Often you will be sent home with no dressing at all. Keep your incision clean and dry. Use a gentle sterile solution of saline or hydrogen peroxide if you do need to clean around your incision.

Be sure and examine your incision daily for drainage, redness, swelling, any other sign of infection. It would not be a bad idea to take your temperature for a few days to make sure your body is not fighting an infection.

Sleep in clean fresh pajamas and bed linens each night. Change position frequently when you are resting. Try to shower daily, with help and taking care not to get your incision wet.

A dark damp incision is a breeding ground for infection. Use sterile gauze to dry your incision if it does get wet.

Use an antibacterial soap like Dial often recommended by your doctor when you shower. It you need to keep your incision covered and/or dry, tape some new clean plastic over the incision site taping far away from any painful areas.

Watch incision site for redness, swelling, bleeding, or any discharge. Monitor yourself for fever.

Eat a well balanced diet

soft diet
soft diet

Types of post surgery diets

You may not feel like eating but your intestines may have gone on strike during and after surgery. You may need to take a safe stool softener liked docusate sodium for a few days. No laxatives unless recommended by your physician.

Drink plenty of fluids. Ginger ale, and water are great . The ginger ale can help settle an upset stomach. Water will help get your intestines moving, keep your regular, and hydrated which your body is craving after a trauma like surgery. Keep a glass of water near by and try to sip on it regularly.

You may want to stay on a soft diet for a few days like baked potatoes, jello, scrambled eggs, broth, yogurt, applesauce, moist cooked meat and vegetables. Progress with your diet as you feel more comfortable and when you start to pass gas or move your bowels.

Ask your doctor about what vitamins you need to be taking to aid with healing such as calcium with magnesium for broken bones. Vitamins may upset your stomach at this time.

Take medications as instructed
Take medications as instructed

Mediations post surgery

You may be a big vitamin taker but you might want to back off for a day or two until your bowels return to normal. Take all of your antibiotics your doctor may have given you. Don't skip even one pill no matter how good you feel. It is important to totally fight any infections. Otherwise you may be setting yourself up for a stronger bug or infection.

If you come home with pain medication take it at the first sign of pain. It is easier to treat pain that is just starting than wait for strong pain that takes more medication to calm your pain. If it is alright with your doctor you can slowly split your pain pill in half and add some Advil or Tylenol as you feel better.

Your medicine may make you groggy so make sure someone should be with you to help you keep track or keep a pencil and pad near by and write down what you have taken and how much and when.

Stay away from people with colds, coughs, etc. Don't go out in large crowds for a few weeks or days.

How to recover faster from surgery

The importance of Rest after Surgery

Rest is so important at this time. Your body has been through a major trauma and needs all your reserves to heal. Don't feel guilty to take naps, You will find yourself more tired and this is your chance to catch up on much needed sleep. Sleep is the body's way of restoring your body to equilibrium. Follow your gut feelings for rest and relaxation.

Surgical Recovery

If you follow your doctor's instructions, slowly alter between rest and mild activity you are on your way to a fast recovery.

© 2014 Nancy McClintock


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