Recovery after surgery may seem like a waiting game, but it is important to be proactive in your recovery process. Listening to your doctor’s instructions and avoiding rushing to do too much too soon are very important as these can increase your risk for complications. Here are some of our best tips to ensure a healthy recovery.
We will provide you with discharge and recovery instructions before your procedure and go over them once again before sending you home. These instructions provide important information about caring for your incisions, what medicines to take, signs to look for, and rules to follow to ensure a successful recovery. If you are unsure about any instruction or want to know why it is listed, ask and we will be happy to explain its importance to you.
Check your wound regularly looking for any signs of infection, discoloration, or drainage. Remember to follow the wound care instructions carefully to avoid infection or causing complications. Avoid submerging the incision or taking baths and do not pick at scabs.
Prepare Your Home
In the days before your surgery, ask your doctor how best to prepare your home or make it optimal for your recovery. Arrange for a driver for your return home. Make your most-used possessions easily accessible from the bed or areas where you plan to rest during the day.
Consider asking a family member or hiring a healthcare aide to help you around the house during the early stages of your recovery. These people can help support you in the transition from hospital to home by helping with light housekeeping, meals, getting you around the house, and also providing companionship.
You should be on bed rest for the first 24-48 hours after your procedure. Listen to your doctor’s instructions as you may need longer. It can be tempting to put on a front and try to maintain a normal routine and schedule, but your body is in recovery mode. Rest if you feel tired and move slower to allow your body time to heal properly at its own pace.
It can be difficult to sleep later in the recovery process once you become more active or begin to reduce your pain medication. Sleep allows your body to rejuvenate from the day before and encourages the renewal of cells. If you are having trouble getting a good night’s rest, ask your doctor for help. Avoid exercising before bed, darken the room, and remove distractions to create a better sleep environment.
Eat and Hydrate
Lean proteins, probiotics, seafood, fruits, and whole grains are all foods that contain beneficial nutrients to the recovery process. Be mindful of your sodium intake to avoid water retention and unwanted swelling. If you find yourself feeling nauseous or bloating, opt for smaller meals throughout the day
It is important to keep your fluids up, so aim for drinking at least 2 liters a day. Water is the best form of hydration we can recommend. We discourage patients from drinking energy drinks, sodas, or sports drinks due to the high levels of sodium and excess sugars. If water is becoming “bland”, fruit infusions can be a healthy flavor injection.
It is important to hydrate and fuel your body properly during recovery so that you can help the recovery process and help to minimize the risk of complications.
Your first follow-up appointment should be a day or two after the procedure. Even if you feel tired, don’t skip the appointment. Be honest about how you feel and ask any questions that have come to you since surgery or questions about your after-care that may be confusing.
Even if you are feeling well and believe your wound is healing properly, continue to go to your appointments until you are cleared by your doctor. These appointments allow your doctor to monitor your progress and check for signs you may miss. Some of these appointments may require additional blood work or tests to ensure there is no infection and that you are healing as you should.
Resting is important, but so is movement. After the first 24 hours, slowly begin to move around without elevating your heart rate. Take your time and move at a slow pace. Movement is not for exercise, but rather to keep your muscles from becoming stiff. Walking helps to reduce the risk of blood clots and prevent the buildup of scar tissue. Begin by walking around your home or a few steps outside. Talk to your doctor about when you can begin more strenuous activities. If you experience fatigue, dizziness, or nausea stop and rest.
After a week or two following your procedure, you may feel as though it is time to get back to your normal routine. It is important to note that your body is still recovering from surgery, even if your mind says you are ready. Be mindful of your wounds and take things slow to avoid aggravating your surgery site. Don’t exert yourself beyond a healthy limit. Follow your doctor’s instructions as rushing your recovery will only harm the success of your procedure.
Ask For Help
The general rule is if you are concerned, ask for assistance. If you are having trouble breathing, can’t keep fluids or food down, bleeding, or believe you may have an infection or complication, contact your doctor. If your doctor is unavailable, seek immediate medical attention.
During your recovery process, you may feel as if you are a burden to those around you. Understand that your family and friends can be a great support system for you during this time. If they offer to help you, allow them to be your support so that you can focus on yourself and recovery properly.
In some cases, your surgery may make you feel alone. Ask your doctor about support groups who can be there for you on a deeper level. It can be comforting to talk about how you feel with people who are going through it as well or have words of wisdom from past experiences. Remember that you are not alone and that we are here for you.
After your surgery, it will take a while for you to feel and move like you used to. It is important to speak with your doctor often and follow their instructions during your recovery process so that you can get back to living your best life. For more information on how to ensure optimal recovery after surgery or to schedule an appointment, contact Waccamaw Oral Surgery & Medical Spa today.