Avoid Complications: Follow These Post-Surgery Do’s & Don’ts
Surgery is never undertaken lightly. When prescribed, it’s typically viewed as a necessary course of action to correct an unwanted or untenable condition. But just as surgery is vital to tackle this initial issue, post-surgical follow-up is vital to avoid future complications.
Properly adhering to post-surgical protocols becomes ever more important as we age. For seniors, recovery from surgery is often a long and delicate process, with a higher potential for complications to arise.
Following the do’s and don’ts laid out below will help you avoid these complications and better navigate your recovery.
Follow these tips to maximize your recovery and minimize your recovery time.
Take Pain Meds as Prescribed
Many folks do their best to avoid pain meds. Some folks don’t like the groggy feeling they can induce, while others simply prefer not to take pain meds. But in reality, skipping pain medication often makes the recovery process more drawn out and dangerous. When you’re in pain, you move around less, which leads to a higher likelihood of developing blood clots, particularly in the legs. When you’re in a great deal of pain, you’re also likely to avoid breathing deeply and coughing as needed, putting you at greater risk of developing respiratory infections and pneumonia.
Watch for Infection
One of the biggest risks post-surgery is to develop an infection in the wound site. Proper wound care requires keeping the wound dry and changing the dressing as instructed. While soreness, tingling, itching, numbness, swelling, and mild oozing are all normal, talk to your doctor ASAP if you notice excessive bleeding, pus, fever, increasing swelling or redness, persistent pain, or odor.
Plan to Move
Movement may seem intimidating, and even frightening post-surgery. You may have an idea in your head of keeping stock still until you’re back in fighting form. But as we said above, remaining sedentary can lead to complications. Light exercise will help speed your recovery, so be sure to talk to your doctor about some safe activities you can engage in.
Steer clear of these actions and behaviors to avoid unnecessary risk of complications.
Some surgeries and many painkillers cause constipation. It can be awkward to bring up with your doctor, and it may seem like something that’s better to just wait out. But constipation often gets progressively worse, putting pressure on muscles in the abdomen and pelvis. Depending on the site of your surgery, this could cause pain on its own. Additionally, straining to go to the bathroom can put stress on the incision and cause complications. Talk to your doctor about recommended laxatives or stool softeners, and be sure to get plenty of water and fiber into your diet.
Lift Things Before You’re Cleared To
Most of the time, your doctor will give you strict guidelines regarding how much weight you can and cannot lift. These weight limits are often frustratingly low. But they’re given for a reason. We’ve seen patients rupture even small incisions with minor lifting. This lengthens recovery time and greatly increases the risk of infection. While it can be a pain, adhere to the guidelines your doctor gives you until you’re given the all clear.
Go it Alone
Recovery is a demanding process. Even the simple act of adhering to the lifting guidelines we just talked about can lead you to require help with all sorts of household chores. On top of that, medication regimens must be strictly adhered to, and follow-up appointments with your doctor must be kept. Add to this the demands of cooking, shopping, and personal hygiene, and it becomes a lot to handle on your own. Get the help you need so you can get through recovery.
Our Skilled Therapy Services or Outpatient Therapy can help you hit your recovery goals and get back to fighting form. Here in Cedar Falls, IA, NewAldaya Lifescapes has you covered with therapy administered by our expert professionals. Call us at (319) 268-0401 to learn more.