Life after Surgery

Right after surgery

You may feel some discomfort after surgery.  A Patient Control Analgesia (PCA) pump will be provided for you with instructions on how to relieve your pain.  This will be discontinued when you able to tolerate liquids.  The medications that we feel are absolutely necessary will be administered via your IV line.

Remember to take deep breaths and to use your incentive spirometer approximately 10 times per hour.  If you have a CPAP/BIPAP machine, it is important that you use it until cleared by your Pulmonologist.

Begin your activities by walking the day after surgery to decrease the risk of pneumonia and blood clots.  Take it easy and stop when you become tired or fatigued.  It is important to walk several times throughout the day. 

You can use chewable Gas X for gas pains. Use soluble fiber (i.e. Benefiber or Metamucil) for constipation. If not resolved, add a stool softener such as Docusate Sodium (Colace).

At home

Gradually increase your activities at home. You can climb stairs but go slowly and hold on to the handrails.  No heavy lifting and pulling for six to eight weeks.  Do not drive or operate any heavy machinery while you are taking pain medications.  Your pain medications contain narcotics that could impair your judgment.

You can shower the second day after surgery, but you are not allowed to take a tub bath or go into a pool for at least four weeks after surgery. The Steri-strips covering your incisions will fall off in approximately one to two weeks. Do not put lotion or creams on your incision without consulting your doctor's office.

Take your incentive spirometer home and use it at least five times per day for approximately seven to 10 days after surgery.

Contact the office immediately should you experience any of the following:

  • Inability to swallow liquids
  • Excessive vomiting/diarrhea
  • Chills/fever greater than 101ºF
  • Sharp abdominal pain and distention
  • Redness/warmth or foul smelling drainage from your incisions with increased pain