Are you considering surgery, or have you recently undergone a procedure? It’s essential to be aware of the potential risks, such as overall complication rates above 30% in the first thirty (30) days after surgery. But don’t worry! We are here to help you prepare adequately. Going under the knife is no walk in the park. It requires both physical and mental preparation. While getting cleared by your physician and having the surgery is crucial, the real journey starts during the recovery. No matter the type of surgery invasive or non-invasive, proper aftercare is critical for a successful recovery.
The recovery phase is just as important as the surgery itself, and a lack of proper post-surgery aftercare can lead to complications. On the other hand, adequate aftercare can help you heal faster, avoid infections, minimize scarring, protect your mental health, and prevent complications. In this article, we will discuss the importance of post-surgery aftercare and its benefits and provide tips for proper aftercare to ensure a smooth recovery.
Why You Need Post-Surgery Aftercare
In most cases, post-surgery aftercare can be the thin line between a successful and a botched surgery. This phase and all the inconveniences take time, cause worry or anxiety, and are stressful. However, here is a list of benefits available if you avail yourself of proper care:
- Faster Recovery: Post-surgery aftercare can help you recover more quickly by following your doctor’s instructions, resting, and proper wound care. It can also reduce the risk of complications that may delay your recovery.
- Pain Management: Surgery often causes pain, but proper aftercare can help manage it effectively. Follow Doctor’s Orders: Follow the medication and pain management plan prescribed by your doctor. Taking painkillers as instructed and on time can help prevent unnecessary discomfort.
- Rest: Proper rest is crucial after surgery to help the body heal and manage pain. Follow your doctor’s recommended rest schedule and avoid strenuous activities that may cause additional pain or complications.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is an essential component of aftercare. Your doctor may recommend gentle exercises to promote healing and improve mobility. Follow your physical therapy program as directed to minimise pain and optimize your recovery.
- Reduced Risk of Infection: Proper wound care is crucial to prevent infections. Following your doctor’s instructions on caring for your incision and keeping the wound clean and dry can reduce infection risks.
- Minimizes Scarring: Post-surgery aftercare can also minimise scarring. By following your doctor’s instructions and using proper wound care, you can ensure that the incision site heals adequately and reduces the appearance of scars.
- Prevents Complications: Complications can occur after surgery, but proper post-surgery aftercare can stop them. Resting and following your doctor’s instructions to a ‘t’ helps prevent complications such as hematoma, seroma, blood clots, and adverse reactions.
- Prevents Mental Breakdown: Sometimes healing can take months. Mental health issues may arise if mobility or the use of other crucial body parts is affected. A proper aftercare plan can help you safely surmount the recovery hurdle while safeguarding your mental health.
Knowing the benefits of post-surgery aftercare is one thing, but putting it into practice is another. Here are some tips to help you properly care for yourself after surgery.
Tips for Post-Surgery Aftercare
Plan: For a less stressful recovery, it is advisable to make post-surgery plans before your surgery. Here are a few pointers to get yourself and your dwelling ready:
- Quit smoking: About time too, or what do you think?
- Fully stock your kitchen with the necessary supplies.
- Clean your space, and rearrange everyday items in easy-to-access areas or low shelves.
- If your living space requires climbing stairs, consider moving to a place with a lift or on a lower floor.
- Stock up on healthy foods, especially protein-based foods. It helps your muscles heal. However, depending on the surgery type, you might not eat solid meals in the early post-op days. Light soups or protein shakes will suffice in the early days.
- Get plenty of comfort items, books, movie subscriptions, documentaries, pillows, cotton clothes, headrests, walkers, towels, linen, etc.
- Depending on the surgery site, you might need a recliner to remove pressure from the surgery site and stay elevated while sleeping.
- If you are at risk of blood clots, get a lot of compression socks.
- Installing side railings can also prevent falls and make it easier to access utilities.
Congratulations! Your home is ready and you may be self-sufficient. Now, you have had the surgery, what next? How do you come out on the other side victorious? Here are a few tips:
- Follow Doctor’s Instructions: Following your doctor’s instructions is crucial for proper post-surgery aftercare. Your doctor will provide specific instructions for wound care, medications, and activity levels.
- Rest and Recovery: Rest is essential for a speedy recovery. It is important to avoid strenuous activities and get enough sleep. To allow your body to heal well.
- Proper Wound Care: This can prevent infections and minimize scarring. Your doctor will provide care instructions for your incision site, such as keeping it clean and dry and changing dressings as needed. Follow every last detail.
- Healthy Diet and Hydration: A healthy diet and hydration are crucial for a smooth recovery. Proper nutrition can help your body heal faster, and staying hydrated can prevent constipation, grogginess because of anaesthesia, etc.
- Medication Management: Managing your medication is crucial to prevent complications. It is imperative to take your medications as prescribed and notify your doctor of any adverse reactions.
- Avoiding Strenuous Activities: It is essential to avoid activities that can cause complications such as lifting heavy objects, running, smoking, and drinking alcohol. These activities can delay your recovery time and increase the risk of complications.
Now that we’ve covered why post-surgery aftercare is so important and the technical aspects of post-op aftercare- let’s dive into some tips and tricks for recovering in style like the fashionista you are:
- Invest in Comfortable Clothing: Comfort is the goal during the recovery process, so invest in clothing that is loose-fitting, soft, and easy to put on and take off. Think sweatpants, oversized t-shirts, and slip-on shoes.
- Do not Forget the Fajas: Your doctor will advise you which body shaper best suits you at each stage of your recovery if you had surgery that demands you to wear a Faja. Remember, these compression garments will help hold your surgery site and incision in place. Plus, help your body mold to your desired silhouette as you heal. You must follow his instructions. And as you heal, you can experiment and get stylish with your Faja choices.
- Get Creative with Accessories: Just because you’re recovering from surgery doesn’t mean you can’t accessorise! Add fun and flair to your recovery wardrobe with colourful scarves, hats, and statement jewellery.
- Upgrade Your Bedding: Your bed will be your best friend during recovery, so why not make it as comfortable as possible? Invest in high-quality sheets, fluffy pillows, and a cosy comforter to make your recovery time as restful as possible.
- Practice Self-Care: Recovery is a great time to focus on yourself and your well-being. Treat yourself to a relaxing bubble bath, try meditation or yoga, or indulge in a good book or movie.
- Stay Connected with Friends and Family: Recovery can be isolating, so stay connected with your loved ones. Allow them to love and pamper you. Schedule regular check-ins, have virtual hangouts, and enlist friends and family to help with daily tasks and errands.
Common Post-Surgery Complications:
- Infection: Proper wound care is crucial to prevent infection. Redness, swelling, warmth, and discharge are all signs of infection from the incision site. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
- Hematoma: Hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels. It occurs due to blood vessels experiencing damage or trauma during surgery or if the patient is on blood-thinning medications. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and bruising. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
- Seroma: Seroma is a buildup of fluid that occurs in the tissues after surgery due to damage to lymphatic vessels. This is common in breast and plastic surgeries. This study of 150 participants found that 49% of the patients experienced a seroma after breast surgery. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and tenderness. It is avoidable and treatable. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
- Blood Clots: Blood clots can occur after surgery, especially if you are immobile for an extended period. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and redness in the affected area. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
- Adverse Reactions: Adverse reactions can occur if you are allergic to certain medications or anaesthesia used during surgery. Symptoms can range from mild skin reactions to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms or reactions.
Recovering from surgery can be a challenging experience, but with proper post-surgery aftercare, you can ensure a smooth and successful recovery. It’s essential to prioritise your physical and mental well-being by listening to your body, following your doctor’s instructions, and seeking help when needed. Adequate wound care, medication management, and appropriate activity levels are crucial for minimizing scarring, preventing complications and infections, and promoting faster healing.
Additionally, rest, a healthy diet, hydration, and physical therapy can help you recover faster and get back to your daily routine. Remember that recovery is a process that takes time, patience, and perseverance. Proper post-surgery aftercare allows you to emerge victorious and enjoy life to the fullest. As always, we are rooting for you!