When choosing a surgeon and hospital, what are some things to look for?
A board certified surgeon means the surgeon has completed years of training in their specialty and has demonstrated competence by successfully completing a rigorous exam. A hospital accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO) is a good indicator that the facility is committed to the best possible care for patients.
Before surgery, what questions should I ask my surgeon?
Some examples of some good questions to ask are:
- How many of these procedures have you done?
- Where did you learn how to do it?
- Have you had any problems with it?
- Have there been any serious complications as a result of this procedure?
- What are the risks?
- What are the benefits?
After surgery, what can I expect when I wake up?
You may have an IV in your arm or hand. Some patients have a small tube (catheter) in their bladder. This is usually temporary until you are able to go to the bathroom on your own. You will feel unsteady on your feet - your doctor or nurse will tell you when to try to walk. You will need help the first time out of bed.
How will my pain be controlled?
As the anesthesia wears off the incision area may hurt or burn. Take pain medication before pain becomes severe. Some patients have PCAs or patient controlled analgesia. This allows them to control their own pain medication. Changing positions can also help alleviate pain.
What are some of the benefits of keeping pain controlled?
Keeping your pain controlled can help you recover faster. When you feel more comfortable, you may start walking and regain your strength sooner.
Will I feel nauseous?
Some patients feel nauseous after surgery. Medications are available to reduce nausea, just ask. In addition, the nurse may help you change positions to ease this side effect.
Will I have a sore throat?
A mild sore throat or dry mouth may be caused by the airway tube placed in your mouth during surgery. A nurse may offer you a moist cloth to wet your lips or ice chips, if allowed.
How do I care for my incision?
Keep it clean and dry. You will be told when it is ok to shower.
If incision is on leg or arm you may be told to keep it elevated.
Wash hands before and after touching incision.
When should I call my doctor?
If any of the following occur, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible:
- Signs of infection at incision, such as redness, swelling, or a foul odor or discharge
- Fever 101 degrees or greater
- Bleeding or if incision opens
- Severe pain
- Lasting nausea and vomiting
- Any side effects from medicine, i.e. redness, rash or itching
- Any problems or changes that concern you
How can I speed up my recovery?
- Get plenty of rest
- Ask for help
- Move around often
- Eat the right food
- Drink fluids
- Take time for yourself