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Before Going Home After Surgery

By Daniel Baker

Going home after a surgical procedure can be nerve-wracking. You will have so many questions and be plagued with doubts. Even a comforting assurance from your surgeon saying “feel free to call me if anything unusual happens” may not put your mind at rest, because you don’t know what is usual or unusual following a particular surgery.

What you do and do not do after going home following any surgical procedure makes a difference to how well you will heal and on the outcomes of your surgical procedure.

Typically your surgeon will provide you with some level of guidance on how to take care of yourself during the recovery period, including taking care of your surgical wounds. Following your surgeon’s instructions can help you stay safe and return to normal, recovering as fast as your body will allow.

All surgeons should provide you with a comprehensive set of discharge instructions to make life easier for everyone. Think of it as a measure of basic good practice.

Here’s what should be included:

  • A list of prescribed medications.
  • Guidance on diet and activity restrictions.
  • A list of possible side effects related to the surgery.
  • A list of possible side effects related to the type of anaesthesia administered during surgery.
  • A clear idea about potential surgical complications for the surgical procedure performed, with time parameters that may help the patient understand when the doctor should be contacted.

A comprehensive list such as this reduces anxiety for patients and their families. A peaceful mind, without added stress and uncertainty during this initial recovery period, will definitely promote better healing.

From a surgeon’s point of view, taking the time to provide this information to each patient pays dividends in the long term because a lot of unnecessary drama and panicked calls and visits can be avoided.