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Surgery: What to Expect

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After Surgery

(continued)

Ready or not?

You may meet most of the criteria to go home but may not be able to do certain things well enough to go home. In this case, you may go to a type of assisted-living facility instead of to your home. Nurses and rehabilitation specialists at an assisted-living facility can help you work toward getting home.

Home care instructions

You will most likely go home with a sheet of instructions including whom to contact if you have a problem.

A nurse will go over these instructions with you. He or she can also help arrange for any care you will need when you go home. This may include nursing care or visits from other health care workers.

Your instructions will include:

  • Which medicines you are to take and when, including medicines you take regularly.
  • The level of activity that is safe for you to do. For example, the instructions will likely list when it is okay to drive, how much you can walk each day, how much weight you can lift, and what other things you can do as you recover. For most minor surgeries, you will be encouraged to be as active as possible to avoid problems.
  • What foods to eat and how your bowel and urinary habits may be different.
  • The use of special equipment, such as a sling or crutches.

Incision care

Your home-care instructions will include how to take care of your incision. The instructions will explain:

  • The best way to bathe and protect your wound, such as how to cover the area if needed and when it is safe to shower and let the incision get wet.
  • How to care for and change your surgical dressing.
  • What clothing to wear to avoid rubbing your incision area.
  • What symptoms to look for that may be a problem. Signs of a skin infection, such as a fever, increased pain, or increased drainage, need to be checked by your surgeon. Mild swelling and redness around the incision area is normal after surgery.

Follow-up

Your instructions will include when to have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon. Your surgeon will want to talk to you before your follow-up appointment if:

  • You aren't sure about your home-care instructions. Ask right away if you have any questions about wound care or drainage.
  • You develop a symptom or problem that you don't know how to handle.
  • You develop an unexpected symptom or problem.
  • You aren't able to take your medicines.
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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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