After undergoing an operation, patients will begin their recovery process as they heal both mentally and physically.
The recovery process varies greatly depending on the type of surgery performed and its location, as well as the individual, and their doctor or surgeon should discuss what to expect before the operation.
Anesthesia and pain control
For operations where anesthesia has been used, it may take a few hours for its effects to wear off. Once this happens, however, the patient may be ready to truly begin the recovery process.
As soon as the patient is well enough, they may sit on the edge of their bed or walk – provided they are physically able to do so – to help prevent deep vein thrombosis and other conditions.
It is highly important to control pain at this time. Moving around can cause pain to increase, but the patient should aim to control the pain enough to be able to move around and cough.
Coughing is actually encouraged after surgery, because it expands the lungs and helps prevent breathing difficulties such as pneumonia. The process is often called ‘cough and deep breathe’.
Being discharged and returning home
Once a patient is classed as being fit enough, they are discharged. However, if the patient is too weak to care for themselves, or their home is not able to accommodate for their post-surgery needs, then they may be transferred to another facility instead.
Usually, patients are able to go back to their own home after leaving hospital.
For those who return home, they will receive detailed instructions from the medical staff on how to care for the wound and get back into their daily routine.
It is imperative that patients follow all instructions as closely and carefully as possible, to ensure a quick and safe recovery. This is especially true if the patient has bandages which need changing on a regular basis, to help prevent their wound becoming infected.
Reasons to contact your doctor
If you end up experiencing any of the following symptoms or complications then you should contact your doctor or surgeon:
- Sharply increasing pain or uncontrollable pain
- A fever above 100 degrees
- Breathing difficulties
- Diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting or nausea
- Inability to tolerate food or drink
- Black stools, with a tar-like consistency
- Losing consciousness
- Bleeding or other complications at the location of your wound
- Leg pain, as this could signal deep vein thrombosis