Getting Ready To Go Home
In preparation for leaving the hospital, your surgeon will give you a prescription for pain medications. You may have already received your discharge medication prescriptions during your preoperative office visit with your Surgeon.
Occasionally, you may discover that you prefer a different type of pain medication than the one you were prescribed preoperatively. Be sure to ask your Surgeon for a new prescription if necessary, or ask for the medication to be called in to your pharmacy so your family members can pick it up in advance of you leaving the hospital
Your nurses will instruct you on how to care for your incisions an to empty and record the fluid coming from your drains (see Appendix B). Any drains in your body at the time of discharge will most likely be removed during an upcoming follow-up appointment with your Surgeon.
If you have had a flap reconstruction, you may continue to shower at home with assistance. Your surgeon will give you further instructions about restrictions before you go home. You will be advised to schedule a follow-up appointment with your Surgeon seven to ten days following discharge.
Caring For Yourself At Home
What to do:
- If you have had a flap, take an aspirin (ASA 325mg) daily for four weeks after surgery.
- Watch for signs of constipation. Increased activity and high fluid intake can decrease the risk of constipation. However, over-the-counter laxatives may also be needed
- Eat a balanced diet rich in protein and high fiber
- Drink plenty of fluids. Your urine should be clear and light yellow, not dark and concentrated.
- Your Surgeon may recommend wearing and abdominal binder (DIEP flap), a compression garment (TUG flap), and/or a bra. These will be given to you by your Surgeon, if needed.
- Continue to use your ICS device to assist with deep breathing and lung expansion
- Continue to take short walks around your home and to exercise your calf muscles, avoiding complete bed rest.
What NOT to do:
- Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for four to six weeks after surgery.
- Do not perform any activity that will raise your heart rate or blood pressure above normal for four to six weeks after surgery (e.g., running up stairs, vacuuming, exercising).
- do not drive for at least two weeks after surgery and after you stop taking narcotic pain medication (e.g., Percocet®, Lortab®, Vicodin®).
- Do not use your arms to push or pull yourself out of bed or out of a chair in the first few weeks to a month or two after surgery