What to Expect After Surgery.

1. How long will I stay after my surgery?

The amount of recovery time varies from patient to patient. After your procedure, a nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are alert and stable. You will be sent home as soon as your health care team feels it is safe to discharge you from the facility.

2. What if I am not feeling well once I get home?

If you are in serious pain, or exhibit warning symptoms described in your discharge instructions, please call your physician, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

3. What can I eat when I get home?

Your surgeon may have specific recommendations for your post-operative diet. We generally suggest that you eat lightly after surgery, and strongly encourage you to drink plenty of fluids. You should avoid alcoholic beverages.

4. What can I do to help prevent a post-operative infection?

In addition to following the recommendations above, follow your post-operative instructions carefully and notify your physician if you have any signs or symptoms which concern you. Remember to wash your hands frequently.

5. How will my pain be managed?

The management of your pain is of great importance to us. We will be assessing your level of pain from the time of admission until you receive our post-operative call at home. During your stay at the facility, you will be repeatedly asked to rate your pain using a numerical scale (1-10), or for children, the "Faces Pain Scale" (shown below).

 Painfaces

We will often use a combination of different modalities to help make you comfortable – choosing from oral medications, intravenous medications, injection of local anesthetic during the surgery, etc. Prior to the surgery, the management of your pain should be discussed with both your anesthesiologist and surgeon. Please feel free to bring up any concerns or fears you may have. Remember that information on pain management gives you the appropriate expectations and hence a smoother, more comfortable recovery. It is important to follow instructions regarding your post-operative pain medication closely. Many pain medications take 20 to 30 minutes to begin to work. For best results, the pain medication should be taken before the pain becomes too strong.

6. Can my family be with me after surgery?

Yes. After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area. A nurse will monitor your vital signs and make sure you are comfortable as the anesthesia begins to wear off. Once you are awake and alert, your family will be invited back to the recovery area.

7. May I drive home?

No. Patients will not be allowed to drive after a procedure and must make necessary transportation arrangements.

8. Should I continue my usual medications after surgery?

Most patients should continue their usual medications after surgery. Patients who have diabetes and those patients on blood thinners may require some adjustment of their medications. This information will be included in your discharge instructions, and will be clarified before you leave the facility. If you have any questions, please call your surgeon or primary care physician.

Saint Thomas Hospital for Specialty Surgery
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