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Postsurgical Care

After your surgery, we’ll care for you until you’re ready to go home. We’ll provide you with instructions about how to take care of yourself once you leave the hospital.

When you return to your room, your family is welcome to see you. Visits should be brief so you can rest. We suggest that visitors be limited to two people at a time. 

Your nurse will monitor your blood pressure and heart and breathing at frequent intervals.  You’ll be asked to change positions in bed, cough and do deep-breathing exercises, which prevent complications by aiding circulation and expanding your lungs. If your doctor allows you to get out of bed, ask your nurse for assistance. During the night, your care team will wake you for periodic checks of your vital signs. 

Your digestive system may be sluggish after surgery. Until your doctor determines that you can begin drinking fluids and eating solids, you’ll have an IV to make sure you have adequate fluid.

Managing Pain

We’ll manage your postoperative pain with medication and complementary therapies. Don’t assume that pain medication is included with other medicines. It's important to tell your nurse when the pain first starts. Waiting allows the pain to get stronger, and it will take longer to control. 

To determine pain medication requirements, your nurse will ask you to rate your pain level on a 0-to-10 scale. You’ll be encouraged to take medication around the clock during the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Pain control will make deep breathing, coughing and moving easier for you. 

Care After Discharge

Before your discharge, we’ll give you information about care at home. Your doctor will give you take-home instructions about rest, medication and diet. The following guidelines apply to most people who’ve had surgery: 

  • If you had general anesthesia or a sedative, don’t drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours. Don’t make critical decisions, sign important papers or do anything that requires you to be alert. 
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, and eat lightly for the first 24 hours. 
  • Have assistance close by when you first stand or walk because you may feel dizzy. 
  • Take it easy, and rest for at least 12 hours. 
  • Contact your doctor if you have questions or problems. 
  • You may have nausea, dizziness or a sore throat after surgery. These are minor effects and not reasons to delay your discharge. 
  • You must make arrangements for a responsible party to accompany you home at the time of discharge, even if you’ve had outpatient surgery.

Prior to your discharge, you will be given information regarding care at home. If there’s a need for post-hospital assistance for you or your family, a care coordinator will meet with you to discuss resources and options. Contact us at: 

Learn more about anesthesia and what to expect before surgery and the day of your procedure.

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