Dos and Don’ts of Recovering at Home After Surgery

If you’re facing orthopedic surgery, you should consider having outpatient orthopedic surgery at Coastal Orthopedics. Our same-day surgery helps keep you out of the hospital and lets you get back to your routine as swiftly as possible. Research shows you can recover at home quickly and safely—just so long as you abide by a few rules. Here are our top Dos and Don’ts for recovering at home after surgery.

What you should DO:

  • Make sure you understand and follow your home care instructions. It will be important for you to follow your doctor’s directions in order to have a positive recovery experience. We’ll explain all instructions to you and send you home with a written copy so you don’t have to worry about remembering everything if you’re still a little groggy.
  • Arrange to have extra help around the house. Even if you don’t live alone, it’s a good idea to ask for help from friends and relatives. You may need someone to do your grocery shopping, pick up prescriptions, or just provide general assistance around the house. If you have knee, hip, or spine surgery, you may be mostly confined to bed for a bit, so you’ll need the help. But even if you have other outpatient joint surgery, you’ll appreciate an extra hand or two around the house while you get back to being you.
  • Take your medications as prescribed. Some people are hesitant to take pain medication, and it’s wise to approach it with caution. It’s just as wise, though, to take your meds as directed, even if you’re not experiencing pain when the next dose is due. Pain that isn’t managed properly can interfere with your ability to recover by interrupting sleep or affecting your mobility.
  • Watch for signs of infection. Keep a close eye on your incisions and keep them clean and dry. Watch for any signs of trouble, such as excessive bleeding, pus or colored discharge, odor, fever or persistent pain—and let your doctor know right away if any of these arise.
  • Balance rest with the right amount of activity. Rest is important when recovering from surgery. But too much lying around can actually impede your recovery. As long as your doctor says it’s ok, get up and move around! If you need help doing so, ask for it! Staying in bed can bring about a number of complications, including blood clots, pressure sores, and muscle weakening. Moving about can also shake off fatigue and help get your intestines moving so you don’t become constipated.
  • Eat and drink healthy. After surgery, your appetite may be suppressed or you may feel a little queasy. It’s important, though, to stay hydrated and to eat as much as you can. Your body needs to refuel in order to support your recovery. Eat healthy foods and drink lots of water to get back in shape more quickly.

What you DON’T want to do:

  • Drive too soon. There are good reasons for not driving too soon after surgery, and they’re not all about anesthesia. Your motor skills, reflexes, and judgment can also be impaired by the use of pain medications during recovery. What’s more, certain movements required by driving can affect your incisions or cause stress to areas affected by joint or other orthopedic surgery.
  • Go back to work too soon. Your ability to return to work will depend on a number of factors, including how quickly you heal, what type of surgery you had and what type of job you do. Your doctor will let you know when the time is right for you to get back to work.  By all means, listen to that advice. Returning to work too soon can slow down your recovery, causing additional medical complications that could land you right back in bed. So take it easy going back to the daily grind.
  • Overdo your activities at home. While some people are afraid to get up and moving, others do it too soon. Your Coastal Orthopedics doctor will give you clear instructions designed to help you heal properly and avoid setbacks. Make sure you have someone to help you at home so you don’t do too much, too soon.
  • Skip physical therapy sessions. If your physician orders physical therapy, make sure you comply. Missing appointments can mean missing out on a complete and safe recovery. It’s equally important that you refrain from doing any exercises that are NOT prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist during this time. These can put undue strain on incisions, muscles, and joints. But don’t worry—following doctor’s orders will get you back to your regular workout as quickly and safely as possible.

Following these simple guidelines can make all the difference between a successful and a compromised recovery from orthopedic surgery. The specialists at Coastal Orthopedics are here to help you through every step of that journey.

If you’re considering orthopedic surgery, consider outpatient surgery at Coastal Orthopedics. Learn more about the types of surgery we offer, request an appointment online, or call us at 941-792-1404 today.