Post-Operative Instructions

What to expect after surgery:
Remember, not everyone recovers the same but following these steps will assist in a smother recovery. The first and second day after surgery will be the most uncomfortable but every day after you should improve. By following the instructions listed below your post operative journey should be tolerable.

The first 24-48 hours after surgery your may have a low grade fever. (less than 101F), this is not uncommon. Your body is working hard on healing and your activity level/diet is not what it normally is. Walking, hydration, deep breathing will assist in bringing this down.

It is important to notify us if your temperature is over 101F at any time after surgery.

Any surgery decreases your gastrointestinal system’s ability to function properly. To avoid feelings of nausea, bloating and potential vomiting, a liquid diet is your best option after surgery. Staying hydrated will help awaken the gastrointestinal system and keep you from feeling lethargic. Once passing rectal gas you may slowly increase your diet to bland, soft food, like fruits, toast, apple sauce, etc. Once you have a bowel movement (which may take 3-4 days) you can get back to your regular diet. But always listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs.

Incision Care
Typically your incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and protected with an adhesive dressing called Dermabond. This makes your incisions water resistant and will peel off on its own. You may have a gauze over an incision with an antibiotic-based dressing underneath. This yellow gauze is Xeroform. You may need to purchase some after surgery to continue the daily dressing changes.

We take pride in trying to make your incisions small and unnoticeable but scarring may occur.

You may shower as early as 24 hours after surgery but no soaking in a bathtub. If you have a gauze dressing on your incision(s), remove this and shower normally. After drying replace the Xeroform and gauze as before. If your incisions are covered with Dermabond you are set.

Pain Medications
Usually you will need pain medications for the first 36-72 hours after surgery. If you are still feeling some discomfort after this time we encourage the use of over the counter medications like Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Do not expect to be ‘pain-free’. Being able to tolerate the discomfort is acceptable. Driving, working or making important decisions while taking pain medications are highly discouraged. Once you are off all pain medications you may resume your normal activities.

It is important to notify us if your pain is not controlled with medications.

Walking will be your best option for preventing complications and healing faster. It is essential for getting the blood moving, decreasing the risks of blood clots, getting your muscles working, and opening up your lungs so you take deeper breaths. Walking will awaken your gastrointestinal system quicker and help with pain control. It may be hard to get up from a laying or sitting position, but the more you do the easier it will become. We recommend doing laps around your living room every hour during waking hours.

Activity / Exercise
It takes approximately 6 weeks to fully heal from any surgery. That does not mean that you should hold life until that time. In fact, the sooner you are back to your normal routine of work, housework, yard work, etc. the better you will feel. Two weeks after surgery you may participate in light exercise like fast walking or jogging. If you need to lift any objects, listen to your body. Any discomfort is an indication that you are not fully healed and need more time.

Sports that require sudden quick movements like swinging a bat, tennis, racquetball, etc. can be resumed slowly after four weeks. Contact sports can usually resume after 6-8 weeks.
If you have any questions on any of these activities please feel free to call our office.

Hernia Surgery
If you had hernia surgery you have most likely left the facility with a ‘girdle’ (abdominal binder). We advise you to wear this 24/7, unless showering, until your post operative visit. If you had inguinal (groin) hernia surgery you might see some bruising that moves down to the genital area, this is common. It can be quite dramatic as the tissue is very porous and any blood at the surgical site will migrate with gravity. Bruising and swelling is not uncommon with any surgery, but wearing compression shorts will assist in controlling this.

It is important to notify our office if you are having any difficulty urinating.