How you can help speed your recovery
The first time you get out of bed or try to stand after surgery, please ask for assistance from your nurse. You may assist with self-care tasks while you are in the hospital; this helps increase your strength and endurance and prepares you for handling these tasks at home.
- You should breathe deeply, cough and do some simple exercises. Deep breathing and coughing help clear your lungs and can prevent pneumonia.
- Walking and moving your legs can help your circulation and body functions return to normal.
- Leg exercises done in bed or while sitting in a chair will also help prevent blood clots, increase circulation and strengthen your muscles. Unless instructed otherwise, move your legs and point your toes for a brief time every hour while you are awake.
- You may be given fluids through an IV initially, and then progress from liquid to solid food. As you continue to recover at home, start by eating small amounts of easy-to-digest foods. If you are given a special diet, be sure to follow it. Drink plenty of fluids.
- You will be given individual instructions before your discharge. Follow these instructions carefully. They may help prevent problems and get you get back to normal quickly.
Incision and bandage care
You may have a bandage over your incision when you go home. If so, you will learn how to care for the incision and the bandage. It is normal to run a mild fever and for the incision to be slightly red and swollen the day of surgery. A small amount of drainage from the incision is also normal. Please keep the incision clean and dry—your physician will tell you when it is safe to bathe. Wash your hands before and after caring for the incision area to prevent infection.
If these conditions occur, please call your surgeon immediately
- A fever of 101ºF or higher.
- An incision that becomes more red, swollen or painful, or has foul-smelling drainage.
- An incision that bleeds a lot.
- An open incision. Lightly press a clean cloth over the incision to control bleeding.
- Pain medication is not providing relief.
- Side effects from medication including severe nausea, vomiting, dizziness, rash or itching.
- Numb fingers or toes, tingling or cold below a bandage or cast.
- Pain, tenderness, swelling or discoloration in your calf or leg.