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Post-Surgical Care Tips That Can Help You Avoid Complications

post discharge plan

The road to post-surgical recovery can be a long one, but it’s a path that you can navigate successfully. With some planning and a little bit of effort along the way, you can be back on your feet in no time. What are some post-surgical care tips from the experts that can help you stay healthy and avoid complications?

Listen to Your Doctor

Your doctor is the only one who knows everything about your specific case. Though there is a lot of great advice available from many sources, all decisions should be thoroughly discussed with your physician. After all, if we trust them enough to let them perform surgery, then we can trust their experience to guide us.

Keep Up with Your Physical Therapy

Though you might be stiff and sore for some time after surgery, it’s important that you perform all of your physical therapy and rehab exercises as instructed. Though there might be some unavoidable pain during these activities, the benefits of fast, complete recovery are well worth the effort.

Watch for Signs of Infection

Even when you are on antibiotics after surgery, there is always a chance of developing an infection. As long as you are attentive, however, infections can be caught and treated early. What are some common signs of post-surgical infection?

  • Fever. It’s common to have a slight fever after having an operation. Low-grade fevers (generally classified as temperatures greater than 98.6 degrees but lower than 100.4 degrees) are usually harmless and do not require any action on your part. However, ask your doctors about their plan for managing your fever before leaving the hospital. They will probably recommend acetaminophen (usually sold as Tylenol) for treating most fevers. Many common post-operative pain medicines, such as Norco and Percocet, contain acetaminophen, so make sure you’re not taking too much in one day.
  • Swelling. Redness and swelling around the surgical area can indicate that an infection is taking hold. However, some swelling and redness might be present immediately after the surgery and are simply inflammation caused by the operation. One helpful tip is to trace the edges of the swollen or red area every day. If the swollen area gets smaller, there is no need to worry; if it grows, it could indicate infection.

Preventing Respiratory Complications

Post-surgical care also includes avoiding respiratory infections. When we are in pain, it is sometimes harder to take deep, effective breaths. In order to encourage deep breathing, your doctor will likely send you home with a device called an incentive spirometer. Incentive spirometers allow you to measure the volume of your breaths and should be used at least every hour while you’re awake.

Circulatory Complications

If you had surgery on one of your limbs, you’ll want to make sure that the swelling and possible damage to your blood vessels hasn’t impaired your blood circulation. If you have a cast or large surgical dressing on, this is particularly important. An easy way to check your circulation is to pinch your nail bed at the tip of your finger or toe. The flesh under your nail will turn white, but it should turn pink again within 3-5 seconds. If it takes longer, your circulation might be impaired.

Accept Help

It might be hard for you to get around and stay active immediately after surgery. Don’t hesitate to ask your family and friends for help. Having an extra set of hands around to help you walk and take care of daily activities will give you peace of mind and make your recover faster and more enjoyable.

Many people consider using a caregiver to provide home care during this stage. Home care can often mean the difference between a successful recovery and a drawn-out one. Fedelta Home Care has been providing high-quality post-surgical care to clients in the Puget Sound area for well over a decade. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our services.

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