No matter what type of surgical procedure you undergo, postoperative care is essential to get the best results with maximum comfort. The last thing anyone wants to do in recovery is compromise their results or lengthen the recovery time. Of course, I will provide you with detailed postoperative instructions tailored to your particular surgical plan during your personal consultation, but these are a few tried-and-true tips for taking care of your surgical investment and helping you obtain the outcome you desire:
To repair surgical wounds, the body needs its rest. One way to make sure you relax as much as possible is getting help from family and friends until you can resume your normal activities. Try to have any housework and grocery shopping done before surgery so you don’t worry about errands as you heal. Pushing yourself too much during recovery can exacerbate discomfort and even lead to complications.
Some Movement Is Healthy
While you do need to take it easy during recovery, it is vital to get up and walk throughout the day. Walking slowly and carefully will promote circulation without straining your treatment areas. Increased blood flow helps prevent constipation and reduces the risk of complications such as deep vein thrombosis.
After surgery, you will need certain foods and vitamins to help you heal and restore your energy. Some of the most helpful nutrients are as follows:
- Protein helps rebuild and repair tissue. Chicken, seafood, and eggs are excellent sources of protein.
- Iron helps stimulate the production of new blood cells. It can be found in poultry, beans, eggs, and whole grains.
- Fiber is important for combating postoperative constipation and for maintaining overall digestive health. Yogurt, oats, fruits, and vegetables are high-fiber foods.
- Vitamin C has been known to aid in healing as well as preventing infection. Foods like oranges, berries, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers contain vitamin C.
Things to Avoid
While it is good to make healthy choices on any given day, you need to take special care of yourself during surgical recovery if you want to have a smooth experience with satisfying results. After surgery, you should avoid:
- Sports drinks, which can increase swelling due to high sodium levels.
- Sugary foods and drinks, which spike blood sugar levels and can lead to fatigue.
- Tobacco and nicotine use, which has an adverse effect on healing and blood circulation.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as these dilate blood vessels and can lead to bleeding and poor healing.
- Do not take the following types of medications/herbals/supplements prior to or just after surgery: aspirin, Aleve®, ibuprofen, ginseng, bilberry, ginkgo, omega 3s, fish oil, vitamin E, etc. All of these products increase your risks of bleeding at surgical sites and post-op bruising. This list is not all-inclusive, so please refer to the list of prohibited meds/supplements sheet that will be provided to you at the time of your consultation.
Take TYLENOL® for mild discomfort or use the provided pain prescription (as directed), but do not take both simultaneously (the pain medication already has TYLENOL® in it).