After you have surgery, you will need postoperative care. The kind of postoperative care you'll receive depends on the type of surgery you had and your health history. Postoperative care can often include wound care and pain management.
Postoperative care begins after you have surgery. You receive it during your hospital stay, and sometimes it may continue after you've been discharged. You should be informed by your healthcare provider about any potential side effects or complications from your surgery.
You’ll be moved into a recovery room after your surgery is completed. Until you wake up from the anesthesia, you may be there a few hours. You may feel groggy or nauseous when you wake up.
Your blood pressure, temperature, breathing, and pulse will be monitored by the nursing staff. Your lung function will be assessed by taking deep breaths. Your surgical site will be checked for infection or bleeding, or an allergic reaction.
If you go in under outpatient surgery, you’ll be discharged the same day. You won’t need to stay overnight unless you develop some postoperative problems. Before you're permitted to be released, you will need to be able to drink, breathe normally and urinate. If you had anesthesia during surgery, you wouldn't be permitted to drive home, or for 24 hours thereafter.
If you have inpatient surgery, you will be staying in the hospital overnight for continuing postoperative care. If you have any complications, you may be in the hospital longer than overnight.
When you leave the recovery room and are moved to a room, your postoperative care will continue. You may still have an IV in your arm. There may be a device that measures oxygen levels in your blood still attached to your finger. You will have a dressing on the surgical site. You could have a heartbeat monitor, a tube in your nose, mouth, bladder, or a breathing apparatus.
You will be monitored by the hospital staff. They will watch your vital signs, give you pain medications if needed orally, by your IV, or injection.
You may be asked to get up and walk around, depending on your condition. When you move, it decreases the chance of blood clots. Plus, it helps to keep your muscle strength. To prevent respiratory complications, you may be asked to force yourself to cough or to do deep breathing exercises.
Your doctor will decide when you can be released. Ask for discharge instructions before you leave. If you need in-home care, make those preparations ahead of time.
When you are released to go home, it's imperative to follow your doctor's instructions. Keep your follow-up appointments and take your medication as directed. If you have an in-home caregiver, listen to what they tell you.
If you would happen to develop increased pain, a fever, or bleeding at the surgical site, call your doctor immediately. Also, contact your doctor if you aren't recovering like you're supposed to or if you have questions.