Caring For Yourself Following Surgery

Wound Care 

You may or may not have a dressing. If you do, you will receive
instructions from your physician / nurse. If you have steristrips,
expect them to fall off in 3 - 4 days. Contact your physician's
office for removal of sutures / clips, if still in. If any of the
following occur, notify your doctor: 

1)   Increased pain 
2)   Increased swelling 
3)   Fever 
4)   Foul odour and / or increased drainage from wound.  

You may shower upon discharge, unless otherwise specified.  

Rest and Exercise 

You will find that you tire easily for the first few weeks after
discharge. It is important to be aware of this and to take your
needed rest. Fatigue is only your body telling you it is healing
and it needs extra attention - there is no cause for alarm. Walking
is an excellent exercise. Start walking short distances and slowly
increase the distance and speed. Your surgical incision continues
to heal and strengthen for several weeks after surgery. It is
important not to strain the incision during this healing time,
approximately 6 - 8 weeks. Do not do sit-ups or heavy lifting (no
more than 10 pounds). Weights to consider: grocery bags, pets and
children. Do not do heavy pushing or strenuous reaching, ie
vacuuming, mowing the lawn or washing windows. Do not drive a car
until you feel comfortable and are off narcotic-containing pain
killers. Check with your physician before arranging long car or
plane trips. 

Sexual Activity 

You may resume sexual activity once the operative site is


No restrictions unless stated by your physician. Drink plenty of

Bowel Movements 

Constipation and forceful straining during bowel movements should
be avoided as this may place stress on the surgical area. As you
increase your activity and exercise, the tendency toward
constipation should be lessened. 


If you have been on prescription medications prior to this
hospitalization, please check with your family physician prior to
discharge for changes. You may have mild discomfort. If necessary,
ask the doctor to prescribe pain medication for use at home.  

Return to Work 

If you have a job outside the home, the date of your return to work
should be discussed with your physician. This date is dependant on
many factors, ie type of work. 

Follow-up Care 

Make an appointment to see your physician for a post-operative
check-up. Call your family doctor or surgeon earlier if there is an
unexpected problem.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Best wishes for
a speedy recovery!

(c) 1992 Greater Victoria Hospital Society