When it comes to surgery, a lot of people express worry and fear of going under the knife. This is completely understandable considering they will be sedated during the procedure and their life rests entirely on the hands of their doctors. That said, surgeons will tell you that, while you have no control of what happens to you when you’re under, what you do after the operation is just as important to ensure the procedure is successful. Unlike your surgery, post-operative care is within your control and should be taken very seriously.
Here are 3 reasons why you should follow your post-op instructions meticulously.
1. To Prevent Infection
Whenever you undergo any surgical procedure you’re always at risk of infection as soon as you leave the operating room. The risk is higher for people who are older, obese, or have weak immune systems.
To prevent infection, one of the most common instructions doctors often give to their patients post-op is to always ensure the incision sites are clean and well covered. Patients are also strongly advised to wash their hands before handling the incision area. If you’re receiving third party assistance, in addition to washing their hands, they should always wear gloves.
You are also not allowed to touch any wounds unnecessarily as this can sever the stitches and cause a rupture that allows bacteria to enter your body.
2. To Prevent Complications
While the surgery may be successful, post-op instructions need to be followed to avoid complications such as deep vein thrombosis i.e. the formation of a blood clot deep inside a large vein. This can happen in the arm, legs, or any other part of the body. If this clot breaks away and travels to the lungs, it can block one of the pulmonary arteries, resulting in a pulmonary embolism – which can cause life threatening problems. If it travels to the brain, it can cause speech and vision difficulties, dizziness, headaches, and even a stroke.
To avoid such complications patients are often advised to perform specific exercises to promote oxygen delivery to the cells. Common post-op instruction include to stay hydrated, sterilize all equipment, and strictly adhere to all surgical septic techniques.
3. To Speed up Recovery
Without your full cooperation following your surgery your recovery is going to be quite slow. If you want to recover quickly, it’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter.
If you’re prescribed medication, take it as instructed… regardless of whether you think you need it or not. If you’re instructed not to perform certain movements, lift materials, or even drive then don’t do it, even if your wound looks healed and you feel strong.
While the instructions relating to wound care, physical therapy, medications, and special diets may at times seem unnecessary and over-the-top, they are crucial to ensuring you recover quickly with no complications. Never ignore or substitute them for any third party advice. Without knowing it you might be putting your life at risk.