General Recovery Tips
A healthy diet before and after your surgery is essential for the healing process. The food you consume could influence your recovery time and how quickly your wounds heal. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and simple and complex carbohydrates will ensure your body stays strong during surgery and throughout recovery.
Eating a low-sodium diet before and after surgery could reduce post-operative swelling and speed up your recovery time. Consuming high-sodium foods may cause excess fluid retention in the body, which could lead to extended swelling during the recovery period.
Getting out of bed by standing or walking short distances, such as walking to the restroom after recovery could aid in reducing swelling, preventing blood clots from forming in your legs and minimize pain from occurring.
Note: Only walk as much as you can according to your level of tolerance.
Avoid nausea and vomiting caused by unwanted side effects of anesthesia and pain medications after being discharged from the hospital. One way to avoid this is to prevent your body from becoming dehydrated after surgery, such as drinking plenty of water or drinks that contain electrolytes. Reporting nausea to a hospital care staff as soon as you feel symptoms could result in nausea medications being immediately administered to you and prescribed to you after being discharged from the hospital, would provide you with a more comfortable recovery of reducing nausea episodes from occurring.
Drinking flat ginger ale or eating foods with ginger could soothe the stomach and naturally treat nausea. Consider avoiding heavy, greasy, and spicy foods to reduce nausea and vomiting. Also, avoid sitting up or getting out of bed too quickly. Using aromatherapy replaces unwanted scents that could contribute to nausea by the use of smelling relieving scents, such as organic ginger, spearmint, or peppermint oils.
Prevent constipation that could be caused from taking postoperative opioid pain medications, by eating high fiber foods that contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and avoiding processed foods. If eating a high fiber diet does not help with your constipation, consider taking over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners.
Pain management after surgery is essential for a quick and less painful recovery. It is important to take either your prescribed pain or over-the-counter medications as directed from your healthcare provider. Regardless if you could tolerate your pain or not, to prevent your body from becoming stressed during recovery, it is important to manage your pain to speed up the healing process. To reduce and prevent worsening of unwanted side-effects after taking opioid pain medications, avoid taking them on an empty stomach.
Homeopathic supplements & vitamins could boost your body's immune system to speed up the healing process and reduce complications from occurring. For example, Arnica or Bromelain could help with post-operative inflammation and bruising. Be sure to consult with your doctor before using any over-the-counter supplements.
Vaseline/scar reduction products are used to soften and lower raised scar tissues and prevent further post-operative scarring. Massaging oils, creams, gels, or ointment products, such as vaseline onto raised scars aids in breaking up tissues within the scar to soften the tissue. Be sure to consult with your doctor before considering scar care.
Massaging scars once they have healed is essential after having a bottom or top surgery. Massaging your healed scars in the direction of the scar could help stimulate blood circulation and promote tissue flexibility that surrounds the surgical site.
A cold/hot compress could be used over the head to temporarily lower body temperature when experiencing a fever. It also helps relieve body discomfort, reduces swelling, bruising, and pain when placed over the surgical site.
Be sure the surgical site is covered with first aid products, if needed, and that the surgical site is covered with clothing or a thin cloth before the compress is placed on the surgical site. This will prevent the first aid products, such as gauze from possibly becoming moist and helps in preventing the surgical site from becoming too hot/cold. Immediately report any signs of fever with your medical care provider and obtain consent with your doctor to use a cold/hot compress.
Gauze may be used to absorb leakage, keep the surgical site dry and protected, which can minimize the risk of infection.
Medical tape/catheter tube holders could be used to secure catheters from bottom surgery or drains from top surgery. It aids in preventing drains and catheters from being tugged or accidentally pulled out. It also prevents catheters from being pulled out, which could lead to damage of the bladder.
Traveling after surgery during times of recovery could not be avoided for certain individuals. To reduce discomfort while traveling, pack light to avoid heavy lifting and use a travel pillow or a donut seat cushion if needed. Ensure to have your pain medications and other as needed medications, such as antibiotics, recovery supplies, and your medical care provider's contact number on hands at all times.
Rest/sleep is crucial for the first couple of days of recovery because it lowers stress and maximizes medications reaching its fullest effects. Even though you may not feel tired, relaxing and sleeping will allow your body to heal. When you begin to feel better and your medical care provider permits, gradually engage in light activities that does not get your heart or respiratory rate up.
Avoid heavy lifting/strenuous exercise for a few extra weeks more than your surgeon recommends. This will reduce your chances of injury, worsening appearance of scars, and complications.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol after surgery. Smoking decreases capillary flow in the skin, which could lead to wound healing complications after surgery. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, which could increase bleeding after surgery.
Practice proper hand hygiene to reduce infection. Before and after wound care and contact with your surgical site, wash your hands, apply soap, rub for 15-20 seconds, scrub your nails, rinse and dry your hands, then use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.
For optimal wound care/healing, it is vital to keep wound areas clean and dry to prevent moisture buildup and the risk of infections.
Infection could occur at anytime post-op. It is important to check for any signs of redness, tenderness, heat, foul odor, and/or discharges, such as pus at incisions. If you notice any signs of infection occurring, notify your healthcare provider immediately to obtain further care instructions or treatment.