Whether your doctor recommends surgery or you decide to undergo a cosmetic surgery procedure, you’ll likely have a lot of questions. You’ll likely be keen to know everything you can about the procedure, as well as how soon after you can get back to regular day to day activities. Your recovery period post-surgery will depend on numerous factors, such as the type of surgery you had and how severe it was as well as, most importantly, how easy you take it in the weeks following.
A lot of people, following surgery, think they only need a couple of days to rest and recover before getting back to their usual activities, but this can seriously hinder your recovery. By not allowing your body to heal and recover following surgery can cause scarring, discomfort, surgery site bleeding and, if you’ve had cosmetic surgery, this can affect your results.
Whilst you can’t always control your health, there are steps you can take to make your recovery more straightforward. There are some common mistakes that a lot of patients make when it comes to post-surgery recovery, so let’s take a look at 5 mistakes which can slow your recovery following surgery.
Doing Too Much, Too Soon
There are many reasons why doing too much too soon after your surgery can affect your healing process, but one of the main reasons is that it can cause your wound to not heal properly. This can lead to discomfort and keloid scarring, which is when a wound isn’t allowed to heal properly, causing an enlarged and raised scar which is often pink or red. Unlike other scars, keloid scars are thicker and can take longer to fade, if at all. When it comes to surgery scarring, keloid scars can be avoided by taking proper care and rest.
Another reason why it’s important to rest, especially in the first few days following your surgery, is that you may still have some anaesthetic within your body which can make you feel uneasy, nauseous or lightheaded. Doing too much, too soon in these first few days following surgery may cause you to fall or be sick. Your doctor or surgeon will give you specific dos and don’ts to follow in those first few days, so it’s important to listen to the advice given.
Staying In Bed
Your doctor or surgeon will give you advice on when to start slowly moving around following your surgery. This could be as soon as the very same day, or they could recommend bed-rest for 3-5 days, first. But, one of the most important things following surgery is staying mobile. Often, this can be confusing for patients as they are told to rest and take it easy, but also to stay active. The reason why doctors and surgeons recommend that you move around following surgery is because lying in bed can cause a whole host of different issues, such as muscle weakness, blood clots and pressure ulcers. It can also make you feel groggy and tired.
Your doctor will recommend the time frame in which you should start moving around, but what they mean by staying active is taking slow, gentle walks around the house first, a few times a day. It doesn’t mean rushing to and from work, doing school drop offs or going food shopping! Whilst it’s important to rest and recover following surgery, it’s good to get up every hour or so and do a lap of the house, perhaps on your way to get a drink or go to the bathroom. Doing this can reduce feelings of fatigue and tiredness, helping you get back to feeling yourself, but it can also aid your digestion, which can be sluggish following surgery.
Not Taking Pain Medication
Whilst not taking pain medication won’t necessarily slow down your healing, it can affect how you’re feeling and what you feel capable of doing post-surgery. After most surgeries, painkillers are prescribed to help with the pain and discomfort that often follows, at least for the first few days. Whether you’ve had cosmetic surgery in Manchester, or a wisdom tooth extraction in London, painkillers will help alleviate the after-effects. But, a lot of patients only take one or two doses of painkillers following surgery, often because they’ve heard things such as that it can become addictive, makes you feel nauseous or because they think they don’t need it.
However, pain can interfere with your appetite, ability to sleep or move around – all of which can impact on your healing and recovery process. This can make it harder for your body to heal, meaning that you’re simply making the recovery process much more difficult. Your doctor or surgeon will likely provide a week or two of pain relief to help your recovery process, with the best intentions of getting you back to feeling yourself. If you have any worries or concerns about taking painkillers following your surgery, be sure to speak with your doctor or surgeon before or following your surgery.
Not Eating Or Drinking Enough
In the first fews hours after surgery, food and drink will likely be the last thing on your mind. But in those initial days post-surgery, eating regularly and staying hydrated will help with the first phase of your recovery. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids initially after your surgery as this will help to keep you hydrated and get rid of the lingering, groggy feeling from the anaesthesia. Drinking plenty also means that you’re more likely to get up and move around to get too and from the bathroom.
Avoid eating sugary junk food and, instead, try to eat foods with plenty of fibre such as breakfast cereals, brown pasta and rice and fruits and vegetables, as this will help with your gut health as you recover. If you’re not feeling up to a full meal, try to eat little and often to give your body the energy it needs to aid your healing process, so will help you to feel healthier!
No matter where your surgery was, your doctor or surgeon will likely give you some exercises to do once you’re feeling better. These exercises will help to build up your strength again following your surgery and help the area surrounding the surgery site to heal. If your surgery was on your stomach area, then you might be given some gentle core exercises to help your muscles engage and strengthen, whilst if the surgery was on your arms or legs, then some simple strength exercises may have been suggested. A lot of patients skip these exercises, believing they won’t help or aid with their recovery, but in actual fact, these can be key to getting back to your usual day to day activities.