The worse is behind you; the surgery was a success. Now it is time to go back to normal and forget this ever happened to you. For some people, recovering after surgery is a pretty straightforward process – they follow their doctor’s instructions and surround themselves with their loved ones. However, not everyone is able to heal quickly. If you or your close person had surgery, here is what you need to learn about recovery:

Take care of your incision

You need to take care of your surgical incision in order to prevent infection and heal quickly. The list of standard incisions includes those close up with staples, sutures, surgical glue, and steri-strips. If you have an open incision, most probably, your doctor will recommend you to stay a bit longer in the hospital since this kind of incision requires different care.

In case you have a standard incision, you will be able to clean the area and cover your surgical wound with Tegaderm on your own. Ask your doctor how long you should keep the incision area dry. Usually, it is recommended to stay away from the shower for the first day after surgery. To avoid getting your wound wet, you can always use a sponge to clean yourself.

It is essential to check for signs of infection every day. Before you touch your wound, make sure to clean your hands with antibacterial soap. If your incision changed the color, inform your doctor about it.

To reduce the risk of infection, avoid scrubbing or rubbing your incision. Also, don’t expose it to sunlight and apply lotions or creams (unless your doctor recommends it). There might be some numbness, tenderness, itching, or soreness – it is a part of the healing process, and there is no cause for concern.

Check whether your incision changes size and color and whether it is hot to touch. If you have a fever, unusual pain, or excessive bleeding, immediately go to the hospital.

Eat well

It is crucial to follow the doctor’s recommendations about your diet after surgery since balanced nutrition helps to avoid complications. If you carry extra body weight, consider cutting off processed foods such as bread, cheese, milk, potato chips, bacon, etc.

To decrease the risk of health issues such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure, create a meal schedule and the diet plan.

Certain foods can promote healing:

Vegetables: potatoes, brussel sprouts, sweet bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli.

Fruits: blackberries, strawberries, pomegranates, grapes, goji berries, and blueberries.

Fats: seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts.

Leafy greens: Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, bok choy, spinach, kale, and mustard greens.

Protein: meat, seafood, poultry, beans and lentils, tofu, and eggs.

Probiotics: kimchi, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut.

Grains; wild rice, steel cut oats, quinoa.

After surgery, it is recommended to eat little portions. Also, it is crucial to eat at the same time every day since the meal schedule can improve your metabolism. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and soft drinks.

Start moving

Most people are too tired to get moving after surgery. However, walking around is another essential part of recovering since it can improve blood flow and strengthen muscles. Also, it can help prevent constipation, pneumonia, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

So, walk around the block if your doctor allows you. However, avoid strenuous activity while healing. So, don’t run to work as soon as possible and forget about the gym for at least a month.

Sneeze carefully

Strong sneezing or coughing can cause a surgical incision to open. That’s why you need to apply some pressure to your incision every time you sneeze or cough. You can put pressure with your hands, blanket, or pillow. Don’t avoid coughing since it prevents pneumonia; just do it responsibly.

Follow doctor’s instructions

Your doctor wants you to heal as fast as possible. That’s why you need to follow every instruction you are given. Don’t skip rehab, even if you feel much better. Your doctor needs to check the incision and your general condition. Physical therapy is the crucial element in recovering after you had a major operation.

Your doctor might also give you some breathing exercises if you’ve had surgery on the heart, lung, spine, or belly. The exercises should help lungs to recover after anesthesia so don’t quit doing it until your doctor allows to stop.

Also, you can ask your doctor whether you need additional supplements to boost your immune system after surgery.

Quit smoking

If you want to ensure the success of your surgery, you will have to quit smoking. This bad habit can lead to breathing problems, especially after you had anesthesia. Also, it slows the healing process, damages your vascular system and body organs.

If you follow these simple rules, you will be able to recover faster. Stay in contact with your doctor and report in case you feel any pain and or your incision looks different. Familiarize yourself with all the instructions and avoid great workload, heavy meals, and exhausting exercises. Also, it is very important to surround yourself with your loved people and let them help you.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Easy Ways To Recover After Surgery," in Medicalopedia, June 29, 2019, [Permalink:].