A successful surgery is just the beginning of your journey back to total health. The way that you manage your post-surgery aftercare can have an impact in many ways, from how fast your body heals to how quickly you’re able to return to work. The quality of your recovery is key to ensuring that you get back to full fitness fast.
Here are our top tips for post-surgery aftercare.
- Follow all the instructions you’ve been given – Even if they seem unnecessary to you, or there are lots of them, the instructions you get are there for a reason. Something like not going swimming, or avoiding lifting anything heavy, for the first few weeks is not designed to restrict your life but to ensure that you recover as quickly as possible so pay attention to what you’ve been told to do. That includes going to any follow-up appointments.
- Take steps to prevent infection – Getting a post-surgery infection is rare, but it happens (usually within 30 days of surgery). You can take simple steps to help avoid this, such as washing your hands thoroughly before you touch the incision or the area around it.
- Monitor the incision – You might not like its look, but monitoring it is important to ensure it’s healing in the right way. Is the skin around it very pink, the stitches broken, or is there some drainage?
- Be gentle with the incision – You don’t need to scrub it with harsh chemicals to keep it clean or pick off scabs. We would advise the opposite. All you need to do is gently wash the incision with soap and water (unless your surgeon has told you to do something else). Scabs are part of the healing process, and if you keep picking them off, you can obstruct this.
- Feed yourself well and stay hydrated – Surgery can leave you feeling out of sorts, but it’s important that you nourish your body after something like this. Drink plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated, and eat regular, nutritious meals. You might need to modify your diet for changes in your bodily functions, such as constipation – there is plenty of information on how to do this online, or you can ask your team for help. It’s also essential to start doing some gentle movement to help avoid complications like a DVT.
- Be careful when you cough or sneeze – A new incision isn’t that strong and can burst open if you cough or sneeze powerfully. Don’t press on the incision if you feel like you’re about to do this. Instead, apply gentle pressure to the area around it to keep the sutures in place.
- Get help if you need it – You can use pain medication to help manage any discomfort. However, if you’re struggling – or you’re bleeding, struggling to breathe or unable to keep food or water down – you may need to seek help.
The quality of post-surgery aftercare can have a big impact on recovery – and most of this is down to you.