AFTER SURGERY – AT THE ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY CENTER, NC
Following surgery at our Orthopedic Surgery Center, you will be closely observed in the recovery room while you are waking up. During this time, your nurse will monitor your vital signs and administer medications for pain and or nausea if you need them. After approximately one hour, we will bring your friend or family member back to sit with you.
Before going home, our nursing staff will provide you and your accompanying person with instructions about your medications, dressings, exercises and follow-up appointments. Please use this time to ask any questions that you may have regarding your post-operative care.
AFTER SURGERY -WHEN YOU GET HOME
The time after surgery is critical to your recovery. Although the surgical part is over and you can look forward to improved
mobility and overall quality of life, the final outcome of your surgery depends in large part on what you do and don’t do after you get home.
We have prepared some dos and don’ts for you so that you know what to expect after you go home post-surgery.
DON’T DRIVE TOO SOON
Many people think the reason for the no-driving-after-surgery rule is anesthesia. And though it is true that a person’s motor skills and judgment can be seriously diminished by anesthesia and pain meds, they are only part of the problem. The sudden and sometimes awkward movements of driving as well as the stress of it can influence your recovery, too.
DON’T LIFT UNTIL CLEARED
Unnecessary straining of any sort (that includes working out, too) could not only cause wounds to reopen, it can cause infection in areas of broken skin.
According to research from the Copenhagen Wound Healing Center at the University of Copenhagen, smoking decreases the amount of oxygen that can reach a wound and interferes with the functioning of inflammatory cells that help to speed healing. Smoking can increase the healing time of surgical wounds by up to weeks, while simultaneously increasing the risk of post-operative infections and pneumonia.
DON’T SKIP APPOINTMENTS
It is understandable that once you feel better, you want to forget all about the surgery, thinking you don’t need a surgeon any more. However, your surgical staples or sutures need to be removed, your wound checked out, and your condition evaluated. If you have any questions about your follow-up appointment with your physician, contact our orthopedic surgery center, NC.
DON’T DO SPORTS RIGHT AWAY
Following surgery, you should wait at least one to three days before you begin doing any sports. Ask your surgeon for instructions regarding your specific condition and type of surgery.
FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S DIRECTIONS
Choosing which instructions to follow and which not to isn’t up to you. Sometimes, you will not know the reason for a specific recommendation. If you disregard it, the consequences might be severe.
USE PAIN MEDICATION AS INSTRUCTED
Take your pain medications as directed by your surgeon. Many procedures involve a regional nerve block that will wear off within 6-18 hours. It is important to stay on schedule with your pain medication as it will decrease the severity of pain when the block wears off. Do not force any motion that causes pain. Do not drive, operate machinery, or sign any legal documents while taking narcotic pain medication.
Ice and elevate your affected extremity to additionally reduce swelling and pain.
TAKE YOUR FULL COURSE OF ANTIBIOTICS
Post-op infections are a great risk to all surgical patients. Antibiotics help in preventing them and it’s important to take them as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping antibiotics early significantly increases your risk of developing antibiotic resistance. If this happens, it may mean that the next time you need antibiotics, they won’t work as effectively or at all.
WATCH OUT FOR INFECTION
Call your doctor if there is pus, excessive bleeding, fever, persistent pain, increased swelling or redness, or any changes in odor originating from the wound. These are frequently signs of a developing infection that needs your doctor’s immediate attention.
If your surgeon orders physical therapy after surgery, go to your physical therapy appointments. Furthermore, if the physical therapist prepares a home exercise plan for you to follow on your days off from physical therapy, do it.
ASK FOR HELP
If you are having anesthesia, you will need to have someone over the age of 18 remain at the orthopedic surgery center, NC during your procedure to receive discharge instructions, drive you home, and stay with you for 24 hours after your surgery. Please make arrangements ahead of time.
DRINK AND EAT PROPERLY
It is quite common to lose your appetite in the days after surgery. Nevertheless, staying hydrated and following a healthy diet after surgery can help encourage healing, minimize common complications, and help you overcome unwanted side effects of anesthesia.
COUGH AND SNEEZE CAREFULLY
If you are left with an incision after surgery, you can do some harm to it if you cough or sneeze the wrong way. A new incision isn’t very strong and a forceful sneeze can cause it to open.
A short walk every hour or two on the days following surgery can help circumvent serious complications like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pneumonia. It can also aid in preventing constipation, which is a common side effect of any surgical procedure. Walking can help you return to regular activities, so even if you’re tired, try to take a few steps.
BE CAREFUL WITH COSMETICS
In order to avoid an infection, it’s a good idea to stay away from personal care products like lotions or creams around the area of your surgery. Your doctor will advise you as to when you can go back to your daily body care routine.
PREPARE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Make sure you have these items waiting at home for you after surgery:
- hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap
- easy-to-make meals
- comfortable clothes
- filled prescriptions
- over-the-counter remedies
- emergency contact information
- movies, music, or books
- incision care supplies
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR WITH YOUR CONCERNS IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fever over 100 degrees
- Black stools
- Pain that suddenly increases, or becomes overwhelming
- Wound drainage issues; redness, bleeding or opening at the incision area
- Unexpected decrease in ability to function
- A change in level of awareness or ability to wake
- Persistent diarrhea, constipation, nausea and/or vomiting
- Incapability to tolerate food or drink
- Inexplicable leg pain
CONTACT ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY CENTER, NC
If you have questions after your operation, please contact your physician. If you are unable to reach your physician, please call our post-op hotline at 919-719-3079. If you need immediate assistance, please call 911.