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Post-Surgery Care Tips: Ensuring a Smooth Recovery and Long-Lasting Results

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The Information contained in this blog is for general educational purposes and should not be considered individual personalized advice or care.


Post-surgery recovery is a critical phase that significantly influences the long-term success of any surgical procedure. Beyond the skilled hands of surgeons, patient commitment to effective post-surgery care is paramount. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into key post-surgery care tips, encompassing early recovery protocols, ambulation, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prevention, staying hydrated, and the importance of proper showering. These practices collectively contribute to a smooth recovery process and help ensure enduring results.

Early Recovery after Surgery Protocols:

Follow Activity Restrictions from your surgeon specific to the surgery performed.

Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercises, or activities that could strain the surgical site.

Gradually reintroduce activities based on your surgeon's guidance as your recovery progresses.

Rest and Elevate:

Prioritize ample rest to allow the body to heal.

Elevate the surgical site, if applicable, to minimize swelling.

Ice can be useful to decrease swelling if allowed by your surgeon.

Monitor Surgical Dressings:

Keep an eye on surgical dressings and change them as instructed.

Report any signs of infection, excessive bleeding, or unusual discharge to your healthcare provider promptly.

Avoid disturbing stitches, staples, or any wound closure methods recommended by your surgeon.


Early Mobilization:

Gradual and early ambulation is often encouraged to prevent complications such as blood clots and enhance overall recovery.  This also allows your longs to re expand following a procedure performed under general anesthesia.

Follow your surgeon's recommendations for initiating light ambulation, starting with short walks and progressively increasing distance.

Use Assistive Devices such as rolling walkers as necessary.  Could consider this particularly for tummy tuck type surgeries in plastic surgery.

Practice proper techniques for getting in and out of bed or a chair to avoid unnecessary strain on the surgical area.  Do this prior to surgery

Maintain Proper Posture:

Pay attention to maintaining good posture during ambulation to reduce stress on the surgical site.

Follow any specific instructions regarding the use of supportive garments or braces.  Your surgeon may have you in post operative garments immediately after surgery and continuing for some time after surgery.  Always make sure the garment is well fitted and no seams are creating creases on the tissues.  Definitely stop garments if you develop any ulcerations or skin rashes without further guidance from your surgeon.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Prevention:

Leg Compression

Wear compression garments as advised by your surgeon to promote circulation and reduce the risk of DVT.

Ensure the proper fit and compression level recommended for your specific needs.  This could include sequential compression devices on your legs that are either used during surgery or after or both.

Regular Movement:

Perform ankle exercises and flex your feet regularly to encourage blood flow.

Avoid prolonged periods of immobility; take short breaks to move and stretch, especially during extended periods of sitting.

Medication Compliance:

If prescribed, take any blood-thinning medications as directed to reduce the risk of clot formation.

Inform your healthcare provider of any concerns or side effects related to these medications.  Ask your surgeon for clarification of any drugs prescribed and be sure to give an accurate list of current medications and allergies.

Staying Hydrated:

Importance of Hydration:

Adequate hydration is crucial for the healing process and overall well-being.

Drink plenty of water unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.

Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Try to have your urine be clear, dark concentrated urine could indicate you are dehydrated and behind on fluid with surgery there is always some bleeding and fluid shifts that can lead to low blood pressure, lightheadness, or dizziness.

Consume hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables to supplement your fluid intake.

Report any signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or dark urine, to your healthcare provider.


Wait for Approval from your surgeon:

For my patients I typically allow showering immediately.  Swimming or hot tubs to be determined at post operative visits.

Use mild, fragrance-free soap to cleanse the surgical area gently.

Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the incision site; let water run over it gently.

Pat the surgical area dry with a clean, soft towel; avoid rubbing.

Apply any recommended ointments or moisturizers as directed by your surgeon.

Some things to watch for:

If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or pain out of control call you surgeon and if quite severe call 911 and your surgeon.

If you have a fever after surgery there is a mnemonic we all learned in medical school about the possible causes.

Post-Op Fever Mnemonic: "Rule of W" and these are ordered in the likelihood in time after surgery.  Meaning if you have fever right after surgery it is more likely to be the first on the list and a long time after surgery the last on the list.

Wind : Check for pulmonary causes like atelectasis.  Atelectasis is collapse of some of the tiny air spaces in the lung.  This can occur with anesthesia and with typical shallow breaths patients may have after surgery due to heavier breathing causing pain.  Helping with this is deep breathing and returning to moving about as quickly as possible.

Water: Urinary tract infection (UTI) might be brewing. Keep an eye on post-surgery urination patterns.  Is there pain with urination?  UTI can cause very high fevers couple days after surgery.

Wound: Infection at the surgical site? Monitor for redness, swelling, or unusual discharge.  This is usually occurring day 5-7 after surgery

Walking: Watch for signs of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) during early ambulation.  Swelling in one leg or both legs with pain in the thigh or calf region.  If this develops into pulmonary embolism not only can this be serious and life threatening but it could also result in lower oxygenation levels detected with pulse oximetry (pulse ox).

Wonder Drugs: Consider drug fever. Medication side effects could be heating things up.


Ensuring a smooth recovery and long-lasting results post-surgery requires a holistic and proactive approach to care. Early recovery protocols, including rest, ambulation, and monitoring dressings, set the foundation for a successful healing process. Attention to DVT prevention, staying hydrated, and proper showering further contribute to a seamless recovery journey.

As patients commit to these post-surgery care tips, they actively participate in their own healing, enhancing the likelihood of achieving optimal outcomes. Communication with healthcare providers, adherence to prescribed guidelines, and a patient's dedication to self-care collectively pave the way for a recovery that not only addresses immediate post-surgery needs but also sets the stage for enduring results and improved overall well-being.

Please feel free to check out our patient resources section on for more specific protocols for our post surgical patients.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.