Post Operative Instructions - General Information
Prevention of Surgical Site Infection
- It is very important that you
wash your hands before changing your dressings or touching your
- Touch surgical site or area around
incision as little as possible.
- Keep everything that comes in
contact with the area as clean as possible.
- No soaking of wound in water
(including Jacuzzi) until sutures or staples are out and wound is
completely healed. May shower after 72 hours.
- Refer to your discharge
instructions regarding how often to change the dressing.
- If prescribed antibiotics, take
- Watch for signs of infection:
- Increased redness or
- Increased pain
- Purulent (thick yellowish
drainage) drainage from the incision
- Red streaks from incision
- For any of the above symptoms,
contact your physician right away!
If you have any
questions regarding your discharge instructions please contact your
Nutrition Considerations for Surgery
Pam Mason, RD
Surgery and wound healing increase your bodyís calorie and protein needs. It is important that you have a diet rich in calories and protein to support adequate healing. Your body also has special vitamin and mineral needs in order to rebuilding of tissue during wound healing. With a well balanced diet, a healthy person is generally able to meet the bodies extra demands to support good healing following surgery. The following are nutrition guidelines to assist you in a healthy recovery following surgery.
Nutrition Before Surgery
Healthy eating to support healing after surgery starts before you even have your surgery. There will be a period of time that your diet will be restricted before and after surgery. Before surgery you will be required to fast from foods and beverages for a few hours. After surgery, it is very common for your appetite to be poor due to pain, nausea or constipation. By having a good diet before surgery you are able to support your bodyís needs during the time your diet is restricted.
During surgery there will be some amount of blood loss. Your body needs iron to support the regeneration of some components in your blood. If you have problems with low iron levels make sure you inform your doctor.
Nutrition During Recovery
To support proper wound healing your body needs adequate intake of calories, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. Most people do not need to take a supplement to meet your bodyís needs for surgical wound healing. Eating a well balanced diet will provide adequate amounts or these nutrients. Refer to the tables below to find good sources of these foods in your diet. If you have restriction on your diet that prevents you from including these foods in your diet, have had unintentional weight loss, if you have severe burn or bed sore, or if you have chronic or poorly healing wounds you may need supplementation. Speak with your doctor or registered dietitian if you are concerned you may need a supplement.
Even when a person has good iron levels before surgery, it is common that the iron levels drop as a response to surgery. Good iron intake will help to ensure proper reproduction of the components of your blood that require iron. Consuming vitamin C rich foods with iron rich foods helps increase your iron absorption from both the animal and plant-based foods. Some people require iron supplementation in addition to what they eat. Iron is a substance that can be toxic if you take too much, so let your doctor make the decision if you need an iron supplement.
Iron rich foods
Vitamin A rich foods
Vitamin C rich Foods
Zinc Rich Foods
Baked potato with skin
Whole Grain Bread
Herbs & Supplements
What you should know before surgery
The American Society of
Anesthesiologists (ASA) has issued a warning that certain herbs or
supplements could pose a danger if taken prior to surgery. Some herbs
have independent effects and some have synergistic (interacts with or
enhances) effects with medications used during and after the surgery.
The anesthesiologists are now recommending that patients stop taking any
herbs or dietary supplements 2 or 3 weeks before undergoing
elective surgery. This allows your system to clear itself of the herb
or supplement. The ASA has identified the following herbs and
supplements as having potential adverse interactions with surgical
St. Johnís Wort
High doses of garlic, Vitamin E
Ephedra (found in many weight loss supplements)
If you are taking any
of these supplements, be sure to notify your surgeon when you discuss
scheduling surgery. He/she will give you definitive instructions
regarding when and if to temporarily stop them.
(How to Avoid It!)
After surgery, medications
and immobility can cause constipation. Here are some helpful tips to
assist in preventing this common problem.
Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
Eat plenty of fruits and
Be aware of your bowel pattern.
If you notice changes, then take action! If you miss 2 or 3 or
your usual bowel movements, or you begin to feel uncomfortable,
you may need a gentle oral laxative or stool softener.
Eat light meals 2 days prior to
Do not take laxatives the day
before or the day or your surgery.
Enemas are not given prior to
surgery, so you will be much more comfortable if your bowels are
regulated prior to surgery.
After surgery, most
people do not move their bowels for 2 or 3 days. This is normal, as
anesthesia and other medications slow down bowel activity. Most people
have decreased oral intake and decreased activity the first few days
after the surgery. These factors also result in decreased bowel
Bowel patterns return
to normal after surgery when physical activity increases, appetite
returns to normal, and you are able to stop taking pain medicines.
If your bowels have not
moved or you feel uncomfortable 3 days after surgery, or if you have any
other questions or concerns, please call your physician's office.