Post-operative care: 8 tips for a good recovery

Many may think that a surgery considered simple may require less care depending on the case, but this is not true . Post-operative care, in fact, is practically the same for all surgeries that involve anesthesia and incisions (cuts).

Of course, more complex surgeries require longer recovery time. Likewise, treatments and length of stay also vary greatly depending on the case. But the truth is that some care is essential for any type of surgery , be it simple like a vasectomy, or more complex, like cesarean sections , some types of plastic surgery or organ transplants, for example.

In this article, we will talk about the most important care to speed up recovery and healing and also to avoid complications , such as infections, for example. Continue reading and find out everything about the topic.

Main recommendations

Any type of surgery that leaves a cut behind poses a risk of complications, the main and most common  of which are infections.

It is important to make it clear that we do not intend in any way to scare our readers who are preparing for surgery or who have just undergone one, quite the contrary, our objective is to inform and assist . Know that seeking information on how to take care of yourself correctly and, of course, putting these tips into practice will certainly make all the difference for a much healthier recovery with a much reduced likelihood of complications.

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the tips?

1- Keep your eyes open to identify possible infections

Regardless of the strategy used to close the cut, there is a high gamble of disease happening essentially because the skin is broken. To avoid infections, you must keep the wound dry , change the dressing according to your doctor’s instructions, and keep an eye on it to know when a wound is not healing properly.

After surgery, you may experience pain, itching, tingling, and numbness around the cut site. You may also notice some swelling or some discharge. These are normal reactions and should not be a cause for concern or alarm.
Then again, let your doctor know if there is discharge, unreasonable dying, fever, steady or extreme pain, increased expanding, redness, or any change in scent coming from the injury. These are often signs of a developing infection that requires immediate attention .

2- Do not drive again before medical clearance

Many individuals may feel that the medical recommendation not to drive is because of the impacts of anesthesia, however that’s not the case. Of course, anesthesia can temporarily impair a person’s motor skills and judgment , but that’s only part of the problem.

If you have a cut from a recent surgery that needs to heal, moving around won’t help. This includes changing gears, stepping on the accelerator, etc. All of these movements can rupture a wound , as can any sutures, surgical staples, tape, or surgical glue that were used to close the incisions.

3- Use medications exactly as prescribed

Some may avoid painkillers because they underestimate the pain of a cut, or because they think they are strong enough to withstand the pain. Meanwhile, others want to avoid the drowsiness that these medications can cause.

This type of error is serious, as being in pain can actually slow down recovery from a cut. This happens because people with pain end up moving less than those who have their pain under control. In turn, moving less means a higher risk of blood clots , especially in the legs.

4- Do not lift weights beyond what your doctor advises

As we said previously, each type of surgery requires a specific type of treatment and care. While some may be allowed to lift some weight, others are completely prohibited. Therefore, we cannot give definitive guidance on this .

With that in mind, let’s go into the field of examples and suppose that you had a relatively simple surgery and the medical advice was not to lift anything weighing more than five kilos, for at least a week. Three days later, you no longer feel pain and feel completely confident lifting about 10 kilos.

Even if you are physically capable of lifting, pushing or pulling weights, you should not ignore the fact that you have a wound that needs to be healed . Unreasonable effort of any sort (counting working out at the rec center) can painful injuries, yet in addition make it easier for the affected areas to become tainted. Along these lines, take all rest as advised by your doctor.

5- Rest, but only as much as necessary

Rest is essential for proper recovery. Despite this, remaining lying down when it’s time to get out of bed is also a more serious mistake than people often imagine. With this in mind, start moving as soon as your doctor recommends it. Lying in bed for quite a while can cause a progression of issues, for example, blood clusters, ulcers, pulmonary embolisms and weakening of muscles, for example.

Even if you feel tired, resist the urge to sleep. When you move, most of the time you get rid of tiredness . Moving also speeds up digestion, as your bowels may feel sluggish after surgery, and a little physical activity helps wake you up again. 1

6- Beware of constipation

If you have had gastrointestinal surgery or are taking prescription painkillers, be aware that this increases your risk of constipation, and this problem should never be neglected .

It’s not just about unnecessary discomfort, but also about the potential for the problem to get progressively worse. Furthermore, the effort made in the bathroom by those who are constipated increases the pressure on the incision , which can lead to the dreaded ruptures.

Assuming you have trouble going to the bathroom, talk to your doctor and follow the suggested treatment for the issue. Furthermore:

  • Be sure to increase your water intake and eliminate caffeine.
  • Add fiber to your diet.
  • Make sure your diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables every day .

7- Never stop taking antibiotics before the end of treatment

This is a very serious error! And not just in surgical cases , although this is the focus of the article. Many people have the habit of stopping antibiotic treatment when there is no pain and the wound appears to have recovered. And in fact, you may not have any infections just because you stop taking them.

The problem is that stopping the use of this type of medication prematurely greatly increases the risk of developing resistance to antibiotics . And this resistance won’t only happen in relation to the particular medication that was abandoned, yet in addition to all others in the same class.

If this happens, it may be that the next time you need antibiotics, they won’t work as well, or not at all . Therefore, never stop treatment before the deadline indicated by the doctor.

8- Don’t smoke

There is no way around the fact that smoking harms recovery . Your wound will heal faster and develop fewer scars if you avoid smoking during recovery.

Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen reaching a wound and interferes with inflammatory cells designed to speed healing.  Finally, smoking can increase the healing time of surgical wounds, often by weeks. Furthermore, it increases the already high risk of postoperative infections and pneumonia.

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