Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Pain Management Health Center

Font Size

Postoperative Problems - Prevention

You may be able to prevent problems after surgery by taking steps beforehand to improve your health.

  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Complications involving the lungs are more likely to occur in people who smoke. Infections are more common in people who use tobacco products, because of reduced blood flow and from having more mucus stuck in the airways. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Problems with increased abdominal pressure, complications involving the lungs, and infection occur more often in people who are overweight. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises before surgery.
  • If possible, be active before your surgery to increase your fitness level. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Make an appointment with a dietitian if you need help with menu planning. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.

Be sure to follow all of your surgeon's instructions after surgery to prevent problems. You may be instructed to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. This can help prevent problems such as dehydration and constipation.
  • Sit up, cough, and breathe deeply to expand your lungs and help prevent breathing problems, such as pneumonia.
  • Walk as soon and as often as your surgeon recommends. Early activity helps prevent complications. Ask your surgeon how soon you can expect to get out of bed, sit in a chair, and walk. Walking increases circulation to your legs and helps prevent problems, such as blood clots. Walking also helps prevent constipation.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
    illustration of nerves in hand
    lumbar spine
    Woman opening window
    Man holding handful of pills
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    man with a migraine