If you have a large white gauze dressing covering your wound, this can be removed the day after surgery. Underneath you may find some metal clips holding the skin together. These can be removed painlessly in the office using a special clip remover approximately 7 – 10 days following surgery. If appropriate, your incision may be closed with dissolvable sutures below the skin. If so, you will have white Steri-Strip tapes across the incision which should be allowed to peel off on their own over 1 – 2 weeks with gentle showering.
Begin with a bland diet, such as chicken noodle soup, crackers, Gatorade or tea, and gradually work your way up to a normal diet. It is important to avoid eating large meals, instead eat several small meals throughout the day.
When you get home from the hospital, it is important to get up and move around your house. Walking upstairs is acceptable. If you were given an incentive spirometer in the hospital, continue to use it as directed for 3 – 5 days while at home. If you do not have an incentive spirometer, it is important to practice deep breathing exercises 4 – 5 times per day to help keep your lungs clear. During the first week home from the hospital, walk for exercise. You should not lift anything heavier than 15 lbs. for six weeks following surgery. Also, avoid any strenuous athletic activity, such as swinging a golf club or lifting weights for six weeks. Do not drive until your progress has been evaluated by your surgeon at your follow up appointment.
Resume all your home medications except for aspirin or other anticoagulants, which should be discontinued for a week following surgery unless other arrangements have been made with your physician.
The day after your surgery, call our office at (512) 467-7151 to schedule your follow up appointment 1 – 2 weeks following your surgery.
Ice packs on your incisions may be useful during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off is a good rule of thumb.
Use the prescription pain medication provided at the time of discharge as directed. Be sure to take narcotic pain medication with food so as not to upset your stomach. As soon as possible transition to non-narcotic pain relievers such as Tylenol. If you have no past problems with ulcer disease or gastrointestinal bleeding or allergies to aspirin, you may take Ibuprofen. Do not drive while you are taking a prescription pain medication.
Nausea is common during the post-operative period and may be caused by pain medication. Stopping the pain medication and using Tylenol or ibuprofen will likely help.
It is not unusual for patients taking narcotic pain medication after surgery to become constipated. This should be treated by gradually increasing your activity and drinking a normal amount of water to remain hydrated. A stool softener such as Colace may be used for a few days. A diet high in fiber or dietary fiber supplements (such as Metamucil, Fibercon, Konsyl, Citrucel) may also help. For persistent constipation, our favorite remedy is Miralax, although Ducolax suppositories, Milk of Magnesia or Fleet enemas can be used and are available without a prescription. Use all over the counter medications as directed.
Should you experience a temperature over 101 degrees or have persistent nausea, vomiting or other problems that you think require medical attention, please call our office.