Aftercare and Recovery
Planning recovery after surgery is as important as the pre-operative planning and surgery itself. Although different procedures are associated with different recovery processes, there are general rules that follow.
Some supplies and arrangements to consider in advance of surgery include the following:
- Bland Foods such as non-carbonated beverages, bananas, cereals etc
- Use of a ground floor bedroom to minimize stair climbing
- Extra pillows in case it is recommended that you maintain your head in elevation
- Extra soft blankets
- Absorbent pads to place on the mattress, especially if you have undergone liposuction
- Sanitary napkins which may be used instead of absorbent dressings as they are equally absorbent and easier to secure
- Plastic stool in the shower
- Ice packs
- Arrangements for help with small children
- Arrangements for pet care
Post Surgical Activity and Positioning
Activity following surgery is based on the principle of graduated return to full exercise.
It is mandatory that one be able to walk at least 3-times a day for at least 15-minutes each time. Early return to walking is an important part of your surgical plan as it reduces the occurrence of DVT.
Incentive Spirometry is the breathing exercise machine that is sometimes provided to patients following abdominal surgery (tummy tuck etc) and reminds the patient to keep their lungs expanded thus avoiding pneumonias. This is important as many narcotic drugs can reduce the ability to breathe deeply thus predisposing to pneumonias. A useful way to remind oneself to breath deeply is to take a deep breath every 15-minutes or each for every commercial break TV, radio, or streaming music.
For patients undergoing procedures of the face and neck, I recommend maintaining the head in elevation with the use of an adjustable headrest or extra pillows. This simple maneuver helps reduce facial swelling.
For patients having undergone tummy tuck procedures, maintaining the hips in flexion relieves some of the early tension on the abdomen and improves comfort. This is most easily accomplished by placing a pillow behind the knees when lying down.
As you may have heard me state during the consultation, your Social Recovery is expected to range from 2-5 days and your return to Full Gym activities ranges from 4-6 weeks. I will continue to advise you on when to resume partial exercise depending on your pace of recovery.
Your first follow up occurs between 1-3 days after surgery.
If you have drains, these are generally removed at your first follow up appointment. You will also having a change of dressings.
I and my staff are always available to answer questions you may have regarding post-operative recovery. We welcome any and all feedback to improve the process of recovery after surgery. Our office may be reached by calling 404-481-5089.