ationHow To Prepare And Recover After Surgery In 5 Steps will teach you the basics of recovering from surgery. By following these five steps, you can greatly increase your chance of a safe and speedy recovery.
How To Prepare Before Surgery
- Don’t smoke before or post-surgery! This can increase your recovery time and your chances of complications.
- Follow doctor’s orders and keep appointments.
- Clear it with your doctor if you have any chronic or ongoing illness, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Ask the surgeon about what supplies you will need at home to care for yourself post-surgery (e.g. dressing supplies, shower seat).
- Find out what experience the hospital has had with your type of surgery.
- Discuss possible outcomes and choices with the surgeon. Be an active participant in the recovery process!
What To Expect During Recovery
The recovery stage is when your body starts physically recovering from surgery. This part will vary depending on the type of surgery you have. For most surgeries, like gastric sleeve surgery, you will stay in the hospital for at least 1-7 days, depending on your specific situation. Here is what to expect during recovery:
- Being woken up from sedation or anaesthesia
- Pain management
- Recovery time varies by surgery
- Medication may be required
- Having to stay in bed for the first few days
- Moving around slowly and carefully, but without assistance
- A nurse checking on you every 1-4 hours (depending on your surgery)
- Being able to drink soon after surgery, but eating may be uncomfortable or impossible for a while
What To Expect After Returning Home
Once you’ve returned home following your surgery, things will start to get back to normal. This will be the easiest stage of recovery since your daily activities are limited compared to what they were before surgery. If you’re lucky, your hospital with use progress notes to keep you updated. Here are some general guidelines for this part of recovery:
- The nurses or healthcare assistants check on you less frequently.
- Moving around more freely, but still being careful when doing things.
- More physical activity.
- Being able to sleep in beds again.
- Gradual increase in food over the next few weeks to a normal diet.
How To Manage Pain Following Surgery
Knowing how to manage pain after your operation is important for a successful recovery. Your pain level can range from mild to severe and your healthcare team may prescribe medication, including opioids (narcotics) or nonopioid analgesics (painkillers) to help you cope. It’s a good idea to see a specialist in pain management, such as those at Neuragenex Lehi, UT, particularly if the pain is having an impact on your quality of life. Here are some further tips for managing pain after surgery.
- Talk to the doctor about possible side effects of any prescribed medicines.
- If you have any previous problems with addiction to drugs, check with the doctor about pain medication.
- Do not wait for the pain to become severe before contacting your healthcare team.
- Pain management techniques may include relaxation and breathing exercises, acupuncture, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), massage therapy, distraction techniques, positive imagery or visualisation, biofeedback, mental health counselling, and cultural or spiritual practices.
- Know what to expect when the pain medication starts to wear off before you need to contact your healthcare team.
How To Recover With A Positive Mindset
Recovery is something that happens both physically and emotionally, so it is important to maintain a positive mindset. These are some steps you can take for emotional recovery after surgery:
- Acknowledge that you are stressed or anxious, and take steps to deal with this.
- Seek support from your family, friends, or community.
- Try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness strategies (see below), music therapy, or art therapy.
- Share your feelings with someone you trust, whether it’s a therapist, family member, friend, or spiritual leader.
If you are having trouble coping after surgery, reach out to the healthcare team for support. There are many different support groups available for people recovering from surgery. You may also be referred to a mental health specialist for counselling. Get well soon!