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What to Expect After an Operation



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It is customary for surgeons to explain the risks to patients before performing surgery. The surgical team and surgeon will do everything during the procedure to keep patients safe. Surgery is a severe matter and comes with risks. Common problems associated with the operations are a reaction to the anesthesia, clotted blood at the surgical site, bleeding, infection, or pneumonia. Patients should expect to go to a recovery area, follow postoperative instructions, and understand how to take care of their incision for a successful surgery. Problems with the lungs, heart, or bleeding are more likely to occur within the first 48 hours. Urinary tract infections, infection, or blood clots are more likely to occur within 48 hours to 30 days after the surgery.


Patients are taken to a recovery area after surgery for observation. Nurses are available to care for and watch patients during this timeframe. They also will check bandages and vital signs. Many patients experience pain after going through a major operation, which is explained in the initial consultation with the doctor. Nurses want to make the patients comfortable and will ask about pain levels.

Doctors usually keep patients in the recovery area from one to four hours before moving them to a room or releasing them from the hospital. Patients who are allowed to go home are given instructions on exercises and breathing to prevent any problems. If the surgery is minor, then nurses encourage patients to remain active and to ease back into normal activities.

Postoperative Instructions

Most patients have to follow postoperative instructions from their doctor and nurse before going home. Nurses may explain additional steps to help with recovery. The doctor will more than likely send patients back with information on who to contact in an emergency and care instructions. Patients will need someone to pick them up from the hospital and to take care of them after the procedure. Doctors usually prescribe medication for pain, and patients have to take them on a schedule. He or she will explain the level of activity safe for the person to do while recovering as well.

Taking Care of Your Incision

It is common to experience a couple of lifestyle changes, and patients will need to follow instructions on how to take care of their incision. Instructions are given on how to bathe and protect the wound. There are times the injury may need to be covered or protected from getting wet. The bandaging also will need changing and care for regularly.

Patients must be aware of symptoms that are signs of infection, such as increased drainage, increased pain, or a fever. It is common to experience mild swelling and redness around the surgical area. However, you want to contact your physician when experiencing symptoms out of the norm. What to expect after an operation may vary, but a successful outcome is possible when following the doctor’s orders.