Returning to Work
The amount of time the patient will need to take off work will depends on the type of surgery, presence of any complications and the type of work or activity you plan to perform. As such, it will be determined on a case to case basis. Our office will provide work notes accordingly.
Must be taken exactly as directed by your doctor. Any questions should be directed towards the office and the pharmacist when picking up your medications.
- Some pain is expected as you recover. The intensity and duration of pain will depend on multiple factors, including your pain tolerance. Some patients avoid pain medications or use over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol/Acetaminophen. This medication should not be taken with any other pain medication and the overall dose of Tylenol/Acetaminophen may not exceed 3000 mg in one day. Most prescription pain medications already include some Tylenol/Acetaminophen.
- If taking any pain medication you may not drive or operate heavy machinery. You may not drink alcohol or use any other sedative with pain medication. These instructions will sound repetitive as you will be instructed on proper use of pain medications as well as there abuse potential multiple times.
- It is important you decrease the use of pain medications as soon as possible to prevent narcotic dependence. Your surgeon will help guide you through the process of weaning off your pain medication.
- If you take any blood thinners such as Aspirin, Xarelto, Eliquis, Coumadin you would have stopped this medication at least 5 days prior to surgery and will be instructed by your surgeon on when to restart your blood thinning medication.
- If you were prescribed any antibiotics, you must finish the entire prescription as directed. Most of the time you will not be on antibiotics after leaving the hospital.
- All of our incisions are closed using plastic surgery techniques in order to avoid excess scarring. The size of our surgical incisions are the minimal size necessary to safely accomplish our goal.
- All of the sutures used to close your incision are self dissolving and do not need to be removed. Your incision will also be covered with medical glue, which acts as a protective barrier. This glue will slowly flake off. Do not pick at the incision or glue at any time. Avoid tight fitting clothing as it may irritate the area.
- Five days after surgery you may remove the overlying dressings and leave the incision open to the air. Do not remove the steri-strips.
- The area around the incision may be slightly warmer and redder than the surrounding areas as this is part of the healing process. Please notify us immediately if there is any drainage or worsening redness around where the surgery was performed.
- Some swelling in the surgical area and is expected after surgery. You may also feel the regions where sutures were placed under the skin. Over time the sutures will dissolve, and over the course of the next several months the swelling will improve.
- If there are any concerns you may take a clear photograph and email it to email@example.com, along with any other information you would like us to know.
- Do not put any medications, lotions, creams, alcohol/hydrogen peroxide solutions, or home remedies on or near your surgery site for 6 weeks.
- After your incision is completely healed we recommend using a high SPF sun-screen when your incision is directly under the sun, this will improve the cosmetic appearance of the incision.
- Five days after surgery you may remove the overlying dressing but leave the inner dressings which consists of a steristrip held by medical glue.
- Five days after surgery it is ok to take quick showers with clean soapy water running over the surgery area. Do not rub or scrub the area. Do not shower for more than 5 minutes. You may dry the area by dabbing it with a seperate clean towel.
You may not enter a bathtub, hot tub, swimming pool, lake/ocean for 6 weeks after surgery.
- Pain is to be expected after a procedure. Your surgeon will prescribe the appropriate dose and quantity of pain medication to provide reasonable short term pain control. It is important to understand that pain is expected and to have reasonable expectations after surgery. Our goal is to decrease pain and improve function enough to allow you to return to your activities. Although we strive to eliminate all of your pain, this is seldom possible and important to understand before surgery. Use pain medication as prescribed and do not ever use more than recommended.
- After surgery pain control will be under the guidance of your surgeon. If longer term pain medication is required, you will be referred to a pain management specialist.
- Ice packs can be used to control pain and should be used for 15 minute intervals 3-4 times a day. Do not put ice pack directly on skin and do not allow incision to get wet.
- Muscle spasms are common and expected after surgery. Pain medication and even muscle relaxing medications will not have a drastic effect on spasms. Muscle spasms in the neck and back can present with sharp stabbing pain and feel much different than a spasm of your leg calf muscle. Spasms can occur from the muscles surrounding the incision attempting to recover as well as any correction of your alignment (posture) that may occur following surgery. Changing your position every 30-45 minutes can be helpful, and when awake, one should not lay in the same position for more than an hour.
- It is important that you do not stay in bed after surgery, this may lead to loss of existing muscles, and the formation of blood clots. We would like you to appropriately remain active.
After surgery you may or may not be given a temporary brace. Braces will be given to you either at your pre-operative appointment, or delivered to your home. Braces should be used as directed. Generally we recommend braces when out of bed and when in an automobile. Long term bracing is not recommended as it will cause your muscles to become weak. Braces will be discontinued on a case by case basis by your surgeon. Please do not purchase braces on your own unless told to do so by your doctor.
You can sleep in any position you feel comfortable. However, after surgery chances are you will prefer sleeping on you back with a pillow under your knees. Some patients prefer to lay on their side with a pillow in between their knees. Avoid using more than 2 pillows under your head.
Avoid lifting anything heavier than 10 lbs for 4 weeks. Avoid strenuous activities such as sports or activities like gardening. Avoid twisting, pulling, pushing, bending as much as possible for about 3 months after surgery. If you need to bend over, bend at your hips rather than in your spine — keep a straight back.
Your strength and endurance may be diminished after surgery and will take time to return, this is normal.
There is no restriction on walking, however you may notice you get tired faster and feel weaker. We highly recommend walking short distances several times a day to avoid blood clots. Please do not push yourself to the point of pain. You can gradually increase you activities over time. However you should not return to the gym, sports or strenuous activity unless released by your surgeon.
You may not drive as long as you are on any narcotic pain medication, sedative or mind altering medication. Generally patients may return to driving at about 4 weeks, when completely off of all types of pain medications. If you were given a brace, we recommend using it while driving as an extra measure of safety if you were involved in a car accident.
Most patients will be in some discomfort while driving long distances and we recommend limiting length of driving time as well as stopping every hour to take short walking breaks.
Our goal is to have all of our patients return straight home after surgery but we understand this is not always possible. Some patients do not have the appropriate support at home and others do not meet the hospitals guidelines to be safely released home. These include meeting all the criteria set by the physical therapists. These measures are taken to ensure your safety after surgery and are non-negotiable.
Skilled Nursing Facility
Some patients will not meet the criteria for release from the hospital and will require a short stay in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). These facilities are designed for those requiring further assistance outside of the hospital. At these facilities you will be under the care of another medical doctor. We do not visit these facilities, however, we are in constant communication with the treating doctors. You will be released once you are stable and can follow up in our office. Your insurance company will determine which facility, we do not have any control over this. The duration of time you spend there will be determined by the treating medical doctor and not your surgeon.
Some patients are eligible and benefit from short term home health services, including: nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy. These services will be performed in your own home. In the case of home health nursing, a nurse will take and record your vitals, examine the incision, perform dressing changes, as needed, and anything else required in their scope of practise. Physical therapists will perform therapy at home, focusing on safety and mobility. Services rendered and duration are short term and directed by your insurance company.
When to call our office
- Inability to control your urine or bowels
- Numbness around your genitals
- Difficulty with breathing
- New weakness or numbness in your arms or legs
- Uncontrollable pain
- Fever over 101 degrees fahrenheit after surgery
- Worsening redness or drainage around surgery site