Recovering from Surgery

Post-Surgical Care for Patients

With the continuing advances in health care, surgery may be an option doctors present to their patients in certain situations. Some surgeries are simple and completed in a short amount of time while others can be more complex and take a longer period of time to successfully complete. Regardless of the surgery, there are certain aspects to consider when recovering afterwards.

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Most patients wonder how much time in the hospital they will spend. It is all dependent on the surgery and surgeon's opinions. For the less invasive surgeries, the time spent in the hospital is shorter; at times patients can go home the same or next day. For the more complex surgeries, patients can spend a few or handful of days.

Most surgeries often result with an incision wound afterwards. Most surgeons now use stitching that dissolves from being absorbed by the body as the skin and tissue heals. Sometimes a surgeon may also use steri-strips, a type of adhesive bandage, and/or staples in addition to the stitching. If staples are used, they are left at the incision site until the surgeon believes the tissue has healed enough; health care staff will remove the staples when the time is necessary. For steri-strips, health care staff may remove them or the surgeon may instruct the patient to take them off a certain amount of time after the surgery when the patient is already home.

In addition, care for the incision wound may involve dressing changes. Different surgeons use different techniques for different types of wounds. The most important thing to do is to follow the health care staff's instructions. Health care staff will not discharge a surgical patient without teaching them how to change the wound's dressing carefully if necessary. If the wound is too complex, the surgeon may even approve a home health nurse to come to the patient's home to change it for a period of time. Changing the dressing regularly and correctly helps the time for the wound to heal and to help prevent infection.

Also to help prevent infection, certain medications will be ordered by the surgeon. It is standard that right after surgery, doctors prescribe antibiotics for patients. For non-complex surgeries, usually only a few dosages of antibiotics are prescribed. For the more involved ones, a patient may have to take additional antibiotics even after being discharged.

Pain medicine is used constantly after surgery. Pain levels vary with different types of surgeries, but patients should not hesitate to use it if needed. With most surgeries, patients are encouraged to start moving around as soon as possible. The earlier this is done, the faster the recovery time is. In order to start moving around though, patients cannot hesitate to use medications for the pain. However, patients cannot rely on being on this type of medicine for a prolonged period of time; it is only used in the short-term. Finally, take the medicine appropriately and as the doctor prescribed it.

Surgical patients need to take special care of themselves starting right after the operation. They need to consider everything outlined above and to remember to listen to the surgeon's and other health care staff's instructions.

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