After surgery, your care team takes you to a recovery room as you wake up from the anesthesia. Your surgeon will also update your loved ones in the waiting room or by phone.
Because of the anesthesia, you may not remember what your surgeon tells you after surgery, when you wake up.
In the recovery room
During your time in the recovery room:
- You will remain covered with warm blankets.
- Your nurse will monitor your vital signs.
- If you have any discomfort, your nurse will be able to give you medications immediately.
- When you are awake enough to swallow, your nurse will give you ice chips and water. Later, you can have some crackers.
- The standard pain medications given at the time of surgical discharge may include opioids such as Norco, Percocet, Oxycodone or Dilaudid. You may take this medication every 4-6 hours as needed for severe pain. Limit use, as this is a narcotic and can cause sedation, nausea and constipation.
- For mild to moderate pain, you may take 650 milligrams to 1000 milligrams of Tylenol every 8 hours, as needed. Or you can use anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil. The recommended dosage for these medicines is 600 milligrams to 800 milligrams every 6 hours, as needed. Certain medications such as blood thinners may interact with anti-inflammatories, so please check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.
- If you had a laparoscopic or robotic surgery, it is normal to experience more pain on one side of your abdomen and pelvis.
- Your pain should improve a little every day after your surgery. Please keep in mind that as you begin to feel better and start doing more activity your pain may temporarily get worse. If this occurs, rest until your pain improves. If at any time you experience pain that is severe or persistent (despite using pain medications) please call you your doctor and/or nurse or go to your nearest emergency room.
- It is normal to experience some vaginal spotting after your surgery. This can range from brown to bright red in color. The spotting may increase as you become more active. If this happens, rest until it improves. If at any time you experience severe bleeding where you soak through 2 pads within an hour, please go to your nearest emergency room.
- Anesthesia and certain pain medications can lead to constipation, so it is important to start a bowel regimen the day after surgery.
- You may take stool softeners, such as Colace twice a day until you have a bowel movement.
- If you do not have a bowel movement after 2-3 days, please try a mild laxative such as Senna, Miralax or Milk of Magnesia.
After spending time in the hospital, you are ready to go home and continue your recovery. There are several things to keep in mind. If you have questions at any point, please ask us.
Incision care and dressing
- You will either have a few small incisions or 1 large incision depending on whether you have laparoscopic, robotic or an open surgery. Any stitches used during your surgery are absorbable. If you have staples, they will be removed at the time of your post-operative appointment.
- If you have a large bandage covering your incision, you can remove it 24 hours after your surgery. If you have a small bandage or steri-strips (long, thin, rectangle shaped bandages) you can remove them 7 days after your surgery.
- Please do not apply any lotions or Neosporin type medications to your incision.
- You can shower 24 hours after your surgery and lightly pat dry your incision with a clean towel. It is important that your incisions stay clean and dry for proper healing.
- Do not submerge yourself in water (baths, hot tubs, pools, ocean) for 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery.
- Some oozing from your incision is normal and can range in color from clear, light yellow, pink or red. If you experience worsening skin redness, severe pain or a pus like discharge from your incision, please call your doctor and/or nurse.
Published April 2018
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