While most of us are in the throes of preparing for the holidays, some people have been forced to deal with an unexpected hospital stay due to the need for some kind of operation: Gallbladder surgery, hernia repair, emergency appendectomy, colon surgery and cardiac episodes are common any time of year.
Many of these procedures are performed using laparoscopic surgery, where tiny incisions are used instead of a large incision. In some instances, however, general surgery is still the optimal choice. Regardless, if you have to face any kind of surgical procedure, here are my recommendations to help make your recovery as fast and painless as possible:
Plan Your Recovery
Make sure you have discussed a recovery after surgery action plan with your surgeon after you are discharged from the hospital. Find out when you will need to make follow-up office visits and what to do in case of any post-operative issues. Discuss any special equipment, over-the-counter medications, prescriptions or other items you will need to have on hand at home.
Follow the Doctor’s Instructions
Sometimes, the doctor’s orders might seem overly cautious. However, their only goal is to see you recover quickly, so it’s best to follow their guidelines for recovery. Warnings to stay out of water, avoid lifting heavy objects, abstain from driving or not to eat certain foods can protect you from unnecessary pain and complications.
Commit to Your Rehabilitation Protocol
Rehab therapy is meant to strengthen specific joints and muscles that have been damaged, not help you get a 6-pack or drop a pant size. Many people quit rehab too soon after surgery because they don’t “feel” any changes, but don’t make that mistake. Completing your prescribed physical therapy regime will get you on the path to recovery quicker and with less prolonged discomfort.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for about eight glasses. Staying hydrated will aid in the healing process and help return the body to full operating capacity.
Enjoy Some “You” Time
Surgery is stressful, so take time to relax and unwind. Is there a TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on or a book you’ve wanted to read? Call some old friends and catch up. Treat yourself to an afternoon nap and turn in an hour early.
Certainly, none of us wants to have an operation. But if you follow these simple tools to recovery, you will be back to your daily routine before you know it.
One final note that I always share with my patients─should you ever have severe post-op pain or experience new or unusual medical symptoms, call your doctor right away, day or night, just to be sure.
About Dr. Seun Sowemimo, MD, FACS
“Dr. Seun” is a top NJ bariatric surgeon and the medical director at Prime Surgicare, with offices in Freehold serving Monmouth and Ocean counties. He is board-certified, Columbia and Yale University fellowship-trained advanced laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon. He has advanced expertise performing the safest, most advanced laparoscopic and general surgical operations. To learn more, visit his YouTube channel or call Prime Surgicare at (732) -982-2002