After Your Surgery
What should I expect in the recovery room?
Your recovery begins with individual nursing care – including pain management. An average of 30-45 minutes is spent in the PACU. It may be longer depending on your needs, the type of anesthesia and the procedure performed. A nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are comfortable as the anesthesia begins to wear off. You will be observed until you have met medical criteria.
- Family will not be able to visit in stage one.
- Once you have met specific medical criteria, you will be transferred to stage two where family can visit. Visitors are limited to two at a time.
- You will be observed and made comfortable until you have met medical criteria.
May I drive home?
You will not be allowed to drive after surgery. If you do not have a responsible person to drive you home, your procedure will be canceled. If you plan on going home in a taxi or use public transportation, a responsible adult must accompany you.
What will happen if I am not well enough to go home?
Admission happens occasionally. In certain circumstances, your physician or anesthesiologist may determine that you need to be transferred to a hospital for additional post-operative care.
What should I watch for at home?
Call your doctor if:
- Your pain increases
- You are not getting relief from your pain with medicine and other treatments.
- Your bandage is soaked with bright red blood.
- You have a fever of more than 101 degrees.
- You are unable to urinate.
- You experience increased soreness, pain or tenderness at the wound.
- There is a red streak, increased redness or puffiness near the wound.
- There is yellowish or bad-smelling discharge or pus from the incision.
- You have a swollen or painful lump in your groin, neck or armpit.
- You experience a tired feeling that doesn’t go away.
- You have leg pain, tenderness, swelling or a change in skin color of your leg.
What if I am not feeling well once I get home?
If you are in serious pain, or exhibit warning symptoms described in your discharge instructions, please call your physician, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
What can I eat when I get home?
Your surgeon may have specific recommendations for your post-operative diet. We generally suggest that you eat lightly after surgery, and strongly encourage you to drink plenty of fluids. You should avoid alcoholic beverages.
What can I do to help prevent a post-operative infection?
In addition to following the recommendations below, follow your post-operative instructions carefully and notify your physician if you have any signs or symptoms which concern you.
- When you are at home, wash your hands with soap and water:
- Before touching your bandage.
- Before you carry out any treatment instructions your doctor has given you.
- When you are finished with any treatment instructions your doctor has given you.
- Before you take any medicine
- Any time your hands get soiled.
- Friends and family that visit your should not touch the surgical would or bandage.
- If you smoke, stop or cut down. Ask your doctor about ways to quit.
- Take antibiotics only when told to by your doctor. Using antibiotics when they’re not needed reduces their effectiveness to fight infection. If antibiotics are prescribed, be sure to take all your antibiotics, even if you feel better.
How will my pain be managed?
The management of your pain is of great importance to us. Discomfort and some pain are expected after surgery. Do not mix prescription drugs with over-the-counter pain relievers without talking first to your doctor. We will be assessing your level of pain from the time of admission until you receive our post- operative call at home. During your stay at the facility, you will be repeatedly asked to rate your pain using a numerical scale (1-10), or for children, the “Faces Pain Scale” (shown below).
We will often use a combination of different modalities to help make you comfortable – choosing from oral medications, intravenous medications, nerve blocks, injection of local anesthetic during the surgery, etc. Prior to the surgery, the management of your pain should be discussed with both your anesthesiologist and surgeon. Please bring up any concerns or fears you may have. Remember that information on pain management gives you the appropriate expectations and hence a smoother, more comfortable recovery. It is important to follow instructions regarding your post-operative pain medication closely. Many pain medications take 20 to 30 minutes to begin to work. For best results, the pain medication should be taken before the pain becomes too strong.
Should I continue my usual medications after surgery?
Most patients should continue their usual medications after surgery. Patients who have diabetes and those patients on blood thinners may require some adjustment of their medications. These instructions will be clarified with you before you leave the facility. If you have any questions, please call your surgeon or primary care physician.