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What to Expect After Surgery

Your surgery is done and you're now on your way to recovery. Learn what to expect after surgery at NMC Health.

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What to expect after surgery at NMC Health

After your surgery at NMC Health Medical Center or the Surgery Center, you might wake up feeling groggy. If you were put under general anesthesia, it might take a minute to realize where you are. Your care team of nurses that helped you before your surgery will also be there to care for you after your procedure.

You might also expect a sore throat or hoarseness from the tube that was put in your throat during surgery to help you breathe. These side effects should go away over the next couple of days.

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You might have to stay in the hospital for a few days, depending on your surgery and expected recovery time. Your doctor will talk with you after surgery and let you know how everything went. He or she will lay out expectations for either a short hospital stay or discharge and let you know when you might be able to get back to normal.

If you are in any pain, please be sure to let your doctor know. At NMC Health, we want to make sure you are comfortable. You can expect some discomfort after most surgeries, but your pain should never be so severe that it cannot be controlled through pain medicine or other methods.

Preventing complications

Your doctor will talk with you about how to prevent complications after surgery. He or she might prescribe you to use special compression socks or automatic compression boots while you’re in the hospital. This lowers your risk of getting a blood clot.

You will also be encouraged to cough and breathe deeply to help prevent pneumonia and other lung issues. In most cases, your care staff should bring you a contraption to help monitor how deep you can inhale. This is called a spirometer. 

While you’re in the hospital, your nursing staff will care for your bandages and surgical site wounds to prevent them from getting infected. When you are discharged and sent home, you will have instructions on how to care for those wounds yourself. Here are some tips to prevent surgical site infections at home: 

  • Don’t let anyone touch the bandage or wound
  • Family and friends should wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting you
  • Make sure you understand how to care for your wound before you leave the hospital
  • Always wash and dry your hands before and after changing your bandage
  • Make sure you know who to contact if you have questions or problems after getting home from the hospital
  • If you have any symptoms of an infection including: redness and pain, drainage or fever, call your doctor immediately

After surgery, you can expect to have a small amount of pain. If that pain persists and doesn’t get better after you go home, talk with your doctor. Pain is also a good way to see if you’re trying to push yourself too hard to doing too much, too soon.

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Home Health Care Options

If you need help, but you don’t need to go into a rehabilitation center or nursing home, consider hiring a home health care aide to help you around the house. NMC Health Home Care has skilled nursing staff and private duty aides who can help with daily activities, bathing, wound care and running errands. Call them to ask about which program might be right for you.

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