Recovery info

The best steps for optimising the healing process

Your surgeon will give you a specific post-operative recovery or exercise plan to help you return to your normal activity as soon as possible. Typically, you’ll be up and walking in the hospital by the end of the first day after surgery. When you can return to work will depend on how well your body is healing and your type of work.

Before you leave hospital

Your doctor and other members of the hospital staff will give you extra self-care instructions that you will be asked to follow for the first 6-8 weeks of your recovery.
Following these instructions is crucial to your recovery.

When you get home, you may still have a surgical dressing on your incision(s). Either a nurse will visit your home to change the dressing or a caregiver will be taught to do it for you. It’s important that the dressing is changed daily and kept dry.

If you see any signs of infection when changing the dressing, call your doctor. These signs include:

  • Fever – a body temperature greater than 101°F (38°C)

  • Drainage from the incision(s)

  • Opening of the incision(s), and

  • Redness or warmth around the incision(s)

In addition, call your doctor if you experience chills, nausea or vomiting, or if you suffer any type of trauma (e.g. a fall or car accident). During your recovery, you should not shower until your doctor has said you can.

You should also:

  • Drink plenty of fluids

  • Maintain a healthy diet (high in protein)

  • Walk or do deep-breathing exercises, and

  • Gradually increase your physical activity

  • Avoid any heavy lifting, climbing (including stairs), bending or twisting

  • Avoid the use of skin lotion around your incision(s)

Diet and exercise after surgery

Proper nutrition is an important part of your recovery. Your surgeon may restrict what you drink and eat, or place you on a special diet.

After the surgery, you’ll continue to receive intravenous fluids until you can start taking small sips of water. From there, you will be given small amounts of solid food until you are ready to return to a regular diet.

In most cases, your surgeon will want you to get out of bed on the first or second day after your surgery. Nurses and physical therapists will help you with this until you feel comfortable enough to get up and move around on your own.

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