Now That You’re Home
At discharge from the hospital, you will be given instructions on when to see your surgeon for your post-operative appointment. At this appointment, you will be given more instructions on how to care for yourself after surgery. If you have surgical staples, they will be removed, and you will also be given information on future appointments. If you do not receive an appointment, please call your surgery clinic to ask for one.
We will call you the day after your discharge to make sure you arrived home safely, are doing OK, and to answer any questions that might have come up since then.
On average, expect a 6 to 8 week recovery period. Some patients report taking even longer to completely recover. This is often dependent on the type of surgery and on your overall health and activity level prior to surgery. Remember, it takes a lot of your body’s protein and energy to repair and heal the tissues disturbed during surgery. You may tire easily during your recovery, but proper nutrition and exercise will help you to get stronger.
During your recovery period, especially the first 6 to 8 weeks, you will not be able to do all the activities you did before surgery and you will have some required limitations.
Here are some of the “do’s and don’ts” during your recovery:
- Walk every day for exercise. Even going up and down stairs is allowed. These exercises are essential for your recovery. It is okay to rest and take breaks.
- Make sure you are eating a healthy diet during your recovery to help you heal.
- Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent constipation and dehydration.
- You may take mild laxatives to help prevent constipation, especially while on prescription pain medicine.
- Continue your breathing and coughing exercises.
- Clean your wound with soap and water and then pat dry with a towel. Your surgeon may have specific recommendations on caring for your wound.
- You may shower every day, but do not soak in a tub or pool until your wound is completely healed (usually about 4 weeks after surgery).
- Lift, push, or pull anything greater than 5 to 10 pounds for at least 6 weeks after your surgery. You may need assistance with daily activities like house chores and grocery shopping while you are recovering. Please discuss this and any other strenuous activities with your doctor and family/friends.
- Drive while you are on pain medication and for at least two weeks after surgery.
- Drink alcohol while on pain medicine and for at least 2 to 3 months after your surgery while you are healing.
Please report the following symptoms to your medical team:
- Fever, chills, temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
- Nausea and vomiting
- Redness, swelling, increased pain, or drainage at incision
- Abdominal pain
- Failure to pass gas for 48 hours
- Trouble with bowel movements (constipation or diarrhea)
- Rapid, irregular, or skipped heartbeats
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath, or chest pain
- New onset of numbness and tingling around your mouth and in finger tips
- Pain or swelling in one or both legs
- Swelling in abdomen, ankles, legs, hands
If you experience anything that does not seem right, do not be afraid to call. We are here to help. If there is an emergency, please call 911 or go to the local emergency center.
*Please remember that if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call your surgical team.