Embarking on surgery can be a really nerve wracking time for anyone, however severe the surgery is. Whether it’s an elective or necessary operation, it’s still really important that we take good care of ourselves throughout the healing period. Infections, burst stitches, and other complications can follow if patients do not follow medical guidelines throughout their recovery, and as a result, the desired effect of the surgery can be damaged or lost altogether, and it can even threaten long term health and recovery. If you’ve got surgery on the horizon, it’s as important to understand what the surgery aftercare will require as it is to understand the surgery itself.
Just like with any operation, recovery will take time and patience. Ensure you have help at home for the first few days, especially if your surgery was in any way debilitating. Don’t expect to be straight back into your work and social life, the risk of undoing all the surgeon’s hard work is high early on, so rest and recuperation are important. Before your surgery ensure you have easy meals available at home, as well as ice packs in the freezer and a few new DVDs to watch. Be prepared not to exercise for a few weeks, and don’t start again until your surgeon tells you you’re ready – you don’t want to damage the wound and impede healing.
Keep everything clean
The risk of infection is as high after any surgery, so it’s important to follow your surgeon’s guidelines with regards cleanliness and dressings. If you have drains for removing any excess fluid after surgery such as breast augmentation, pay close attention to the guidelines regarding keeping them clean and measuring the fluid output correctly, and also when to attend follow-ups.
Stick to your follow ups
Your surgeon will want to see you again at least once to check you’re healing as you should, and that the surgery has achieved what was required. Don’t miss these follow-ups – they’re crucial for checking your health after a fairly strenuous period on your body. They’ll also be able to review your pain medication throughout the healing process and alter as necessary. Make sure you keep them up to date with any changes you personally make as well. They will also be able to tell you when you’re ready to start to go back to more strenuous activities.
Use the right clothing
Your surgeon or nurses will be able to advise on the correct clothing to wear to protect your wound after surgery, and it’s really important you follow this. Conventional bras can inhibit the healing of the breast area after breast surgery, and other tight clothing can just be irritating the wound. If you’ve had surgery on a joint, it may be more comfortable to wear short sleeves or shorts to stop material from tightening around the wound as your move. There is plenty of advice online about choosing clothing after surgery.
Healing after an operation is all about getting enough rest, managing your expectations, and not overdoing it. If you’re worried about any aspect of your healing, you should contact your surgeon or nurse immediately who will be able to discuss it with you further.