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Surgery: What to Expect

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After Surgery

If you go home the same day

Relief of any nausea or vomiting is an important concern. If you will be going home the same day, you will need to drink fluids without vomiting, be upright without fainting, and urinate on your own before you will be sent home.

If you go home, the nurse will give you instructions on breathing and exercises to help prevent any problems. For most minor surgeries, the nurse will encourage you to be as active as possible to prevent these problems.

Your doctor may give you medicine for pain.

If you stay in the hospital

Pain control remains an important concern after surgery. Inflammation or nerve injury from the surgery can cause pain. Your doctor may give you more than one medicine for pain. Often, opioids are given. In some cases, you may use a pain pump so that it's easy to get pain medicine right when you need it.

Typically, before you go home your doctors and nurses will make sure that:

  • You can breathe using your full lung capacity.
  • You are able to eat.
  • Your pain has been controlled so that it doesn't interfere with your physical activities.

Risks of surgery

The most common problems after surgery are pneumonia, bleeding, infection, clotted blood (hematoma) at the surgery site, and reactions to the anesthesia.

In the first 48 hours after surgery, the most likely risks are bleeding and problems with your heart or lungs.

From 48 hours to 30 days after surgery, the most common risks are infection, blood clots, and problems with other body organs, such as a urinary tract infection.

Anesthesia side effects

Along with putting you to sleep during surgery, anesthesia can have side effects. Two of the most unpleasant ones are nausea and constipation.

While nausea will soon wear off, your constipation can leave you uncomfortable for several days after your surgery. Your nurses can give you a medicine to promote bowel movement. But eating may actually be the most effective means of ending constipation, because food will push waste through your system.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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