Patient Resources

Post-Op Instructions

On the day of surgery, you will receive several items: Prescriptions for medications, referral for physical therapy, discharge instructions sheet specific to the type of surgery you are having. You should refer to those discharge instructions for specific information. Below are general instructions following surgery:

  • Begin with clear liquids or a light meal following surgery. Progress to your normal diet if not nauseated. Avoid greasy foods
  • If you had surgery on an extremity (leg, knee, hand or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Do not place pillows directly under your knees to elevate your operative leg. Instead, place pillows under the foot/ankle.
  • Use crutches or assistive devices such as a walker as instructed following surgery
  • Do not engage in activities which increase pain/swelling (prolonged periods of standing or walking) for the first 7-10 days following surgery.
  • Avoid long periods of sitting (without leg elevated) or long distance traveling for at least 2 weeks.
  • NO driving until instructed otherwise
  • Take pain medication as prescribed
  • Common side effects of the pain medication are nausea, drowsiness, and constipation. To decrease the side effects, take the medication with food. If constipation occurs, consider taking an over the counter laxative.
  • Do not drive a car or operate machinery while taking the narcotic medication
  • Avoid alcohol while taking narcotic pain medication
  • Follow instructions for your post-operative dressing and incisions as instructed on your discharge sheet
  • In most cases, physical therapy will begin on the first or second day following surgery. It is important that you attend your physical therapy visits as scheduled and you are diligent about your home exercises to have the best outcome possible following surgery.

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