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What to expect after surgery:


Not everyone recovers the same but following these steps will assist in a smother recovery.


  • This activity will be your best option for preventing complications and healing faster.  Walking is essential for getting the blood moving, it will decrease the risks of blood clots, get your muscles working and moving, opening up your lungs and cause you to take deeper breaths.  It will awaken your gastrointestinal system quicker and help with pain control.  Yes, it will be hard to get up from a laying down or sitting position, but the more you do this the better it will become.  We recommend doing laps around your living room every hour during waking hours.



  • Your preoperative shopping has paid off.  Now you will enjoy the splendor of your liquid choices.  Any surgery decreases your gastrointestinal system's ability to function properly.  To avoid feelings of nausea, bloating and potential vomiting, liquids are your best option.  Staying hydrated will help awaken the gastrointestinal system and keep you from feeling lethargic.  Once passing rectal gas you may slowly increase your diet to bland, soft food, like fruits, toast, apple sauce, etc.  Once you have a bowel movement (which may take 3-4 days) you can get back to your regular diet.  But always listen to your body.  It'll tell you what it needs.  



  • Typically your incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and protected with an adhesive dressing called Dermabond.  This makes your incisions water resistant and will peel off on its own.  You may have a gauze over an incision with an antibiotic-based dressing underneath.  This yellow gauze is Xeroform.  You may need to purchase some after surgery to continue the daily dressing changes.  

       We take pride in trying to make your incisions small and unnoticeable but scarring may occur.



  • Nothing feels better than washing away the smell of surgery like a nice long, warm shower.  You may shower as early as 24 hours after surgery but no soaking in a bathtub.  If you have a gauze dressing on your incision(s), remove this and shower normally.  After drying replace the Xeroform and gauze as before.  If your incisions are covered with Dermabond you are set. 



  • Usually you will need this for the first 36-72 hours after surgery.  If you are still feeling some discomfort after this time we encourage the use of over the counter medications like Ibuprofen or Tylenol.  Do not expect to be 'pain-free'.  Being able to tolerate the discomfort is acceptable.  Diving, working or making important decisions while taking pain medications are highly discouraged.  Once you are off all pain medications you may resume your normal activities.  

       It is important to notify us if your pain is not controlled with medications. 



  • It takes approximately 6 weeks to fully heal from any surgery.  That does not mean that you should hold life until that time.  In fact, the sooner you are back to your normal routine of work, housework, yard work, etc the better you will be feeling.  Again, work is just another form or walking!  Two weeks after surgery you may participate in light exercise like fast walking or jogging.  When needing to lift, listen to your body.  Any discomfort is an indication that you are not fully healed and need more time.

       Sports that require sudden quick movements like swinging a bat, tennis, racquetball, etc can be resumed slowly                 after four weeks.  Contact sports can usually resume after 6-8 weeks.  

       If you have any questions on any of these activities please feel free to call our office.



  • The first 24-48 hours after surgery your may have a low grade fever. (less than 101F), this is not uncommon.  Your body is working hard on healing and your activity level/diet is not what it normally is.  Walking, hydration, deep breathing will assist in bringing this down.  

       It is important to notify us if your temperature is over 101F at any time after surgery.



  • If you had hernia surgery you have most likely left the facility with a 'girdle' (abdominal binder).  We advise you to wear this 24/7, unless showering, until your post operative visit.  If you had inguinal (groin) hernia surgery you might see some bruising that moves down to the genital area, this is common, in fact it can be quite dramatic.  This tissue is very porous and any blood at the surgical site will migrate with gravity.  Bruising and swelling is not uncommon with any surgery, but wearing those purchased compression shorts will assist in controlling this.

       It is important to notify our office if you are having any difficulty urinating.


The first and second day after surgery will be the most uncomfortable but every day after you should improve.  By following the instructions listed above your post operative journey should be tolerable. 


You may also view these instructions in a poem format by clicking here >>>> Post Op Poem.


Remember:  We are there for you through this journey.  Any questions or concerns that arise at any time please feel free to call our office at 817/419-9200.

Post-Operative Instructions

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