Out of the O.R., Ready for Recovery

Even a simple procedure requires preparation for a successful recover. Don’t go it alone, and don’t fail to plan ahead.

You’ve made the scary decision to move forward with an invasive medical procedure. Your date is set and your doctor has explained the pros and cons. While you might think all that’s left to do it show up with someone to drive you home, your best chances of a complete recovery begin now with preparation for after the surgery.

Ask For Help

This cannot be underscored enough. Even if you’ve only having a simple outpatient treatment, always have a responsible adult on-hand for the first day or two post-op. The University Of Rochester Medical Center lists nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, and pain surrounding the incision as common discomforts after any surgery. Coupled with grogginess, these issues can make it difficult to perform even minor tasks, such as dressing the wound, caring for children and pets, and taking medication on time.

Easy on the Activities

If you’ve undergone a major surgery, you’re best bet is to stay as still as possible for a few days to allow your body time to begin the healing process. Prior to “going under the knife,” prep an area of your home where you can convalesce in peace and quiet. MedlinePlus recommends setting up shop on the first floor, placing regularly-needed items within reach, and keeping a phone in your recovery zone.

Diet Does It

The food you put into your body now and after the procedure plays a major role in your recovery. In the days and weeks before the operation, eat plenty of healthy foods, including lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and fish. Keep pre-portioned plates of these foods in the fridge or freezer to heat up easily when you’re on your own. Click here for a few tips on how to make your own “TV dinners” with fresh ingredients. Not only are these DIY dinners convenient, but will help you fuel your recovery from the inside out.

Add a Day Away

Take at least one extra day off work to allow extra time to account for complications. Even if you feel back to normal shortly after treatment, your body is working overtime regenerating tissue, routing white blood cells to the injured area, and filtering out toxins from the immune system.

Special Considerations

Certain medical procedures require more pre- and post-op preparations than others. Gastric sleeve (bariatric) surgery and dental implants are two of these.

Bariatric recovery

Bariatric surgery is a last-resort for people suffering with extreme obesity, especially when accompanied with diabetes, heart disease, and other related conditions. The effects of weight loss surgery are long-lasting; you won’t “go back to normal” afterwards. You’ll need to adjust your dietary habits long-term or risk returning to the same unhealthy weight. Your new lifestyle should start well before the surgery by slowly replacing bad eating and exercise habits with good ones. Additionally, after the surgery and despite being a minimally invasive procedure, your pain level may be high for several days as your body adjusts to its altered state, liquid diet, and lack of calories.

Dental implant recovery

Dental implant surgery is not one procedure but a series of events that must take place in a specific order before the final implant can be placed. The Mayo Clinic reports that the process can take several months and may require bone grafting if your jaw bone isn’t healthy enough to support the new tooth. Dental implants, when complete, may last up to 25 years and require proper hygiene exactly like your natural teeth. It is important to maintain a relationship with your dentist and make regular visits for cleaning and implant inspection.

The pain and discomfort of surgery ushers in a new era of your health. However, you must take precautions before and after in order to reap the benefits of medical intervention. Make sure you have help and talk to your doctor about ways to stay healthy once the scars have healed.


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Kelly Coleman is a freelance writer and research specialist. She loves volunteering for Consumer Health Labs, which aims to help consumers make healthy choices.