Four Essential Post-surgical Recovery Tips You Need to Know

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People often fear the worst when the doctor recommends surgery, but it is more common than you think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 50 million surgical procedures are performed every year. At least 17 million outpatient hospital visits, including emergency department visits, resulted in surgery.

Surgery doesn’t have to be a bad omen. In many cases, doctors recommend surgery for the purpose of diagnosis or to take a tissue sample from the body. But the most common reasons for surgery are the removal of foreign objects and repairing damaged tissues and organs. When we think of surgery, we usually assume it will happen in an operating room. But many procedures, including surgical treatment for glaucoma, happen in an outpatient setting and do not require an overnight hospital stay.

Recovery after a surgery depends on the type of procedure, the severity of the condition, and the well-being of the person. I’m sure you have many questions, including how fast you can get back to your normal life. Make sure to listen to your doctor about what you can do to heal faster. Here are a few other tips that will help speed up your recovery.

1. Read the discharge instructions

After a procedure, your physician will give you detailed discharge instructions you need to follow to the letter. The document details your post-surgical care including cleaning your incision, pain management, and your medication schedule. It should also contain your doctor’s contact information and symptoms you need to watch out for.

Have a family member or caregiver review the document with a health professional. Make it a point to reread the document during your convalescence. If you’re experiencing symptoms or reactions to your medication, contact your doctor immediately. You may need to go back to the hospital for an emergency checkup.

2. Keep yourself hydrated

Hydration before surgery depends on the type of procedure. Invasive procedures that involve general anesthesia require a temporary ban on the consumption of food and drinks, but the rule doesn’t apply to outpatient procedures. In some instances, drinking water before a procedure can improve outcomes, especially for eye surgery.

There’s no denying that water can speed up the healing process, which is why you need to stay hydrated while you’re at home recovering. During your convalescence, you may experience pain or changes to your body. You might also find yourself parched often. Drinking lots of water ensures your body gets the hydration it needs.

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3. Prepare your meals ahead of time

Unless you’re going in for an emergency procedure, you’ll probably have time to plan and prepare for your convalescence. It helps to have a caregiver to take care of you, but if you’re going to be alone, you need to prepare enough food and drinks for your recovery period. You can’t cook or prepare meals if you’re on mandatory bed rest. And even if you want to go to the kitchen, the pain will probably be too much for you to bear.

Make sure to prepare your meals ahead of time and store them in an accessible area. For instance, you could keep a bar fridge in your room so you won’t have to walk to the kitchen multiple times a day. It helps to work with a nutritionist to create a healthy meal plan. You may also ask or hire someone to prepare your food for you.

4. Allow your body to rest

One easy way to improve surgical outcomes is to avoid stress a few days before the procedure. The more physically and emotionally stressed you are, the longer your recovery will take. Give yourself a few days off to prepare for the procedure. That way, you can focus on rest and relaxation. You also cannot expect to return to work immediately. Your recovery may take a few weeks, so make sure to file for a medical leave.

These four post-op recovery tips will help speed up your healing and ensure that your convalescence is as pain-free and convenient as possible. Some pain or discomfort is normal during your recovery. After all, surgery is also a form of controlled injury, and your body will need some time to recover from the experience.

Always communicate with your doctor if you have questions that weren’t discussed in the discharge document, and make sure to follow your instructions at all times. Don’t hesitate to call at odd hours if you’re experiencing extreme pain. Finally, don’t forget to return to the hospital for a follow-up.

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