Recovering from surgery can be a challenging time, especially if your range of motion is restricted. You may find that you need help with daily tasks like using the toilet and taking a shower but chances are you have a loved one to help you with these tasks until you are back on your feet. Whilst you do need to focus on your healing and get a good night’s rest (anyone who has ever been in hospital overnight will know that is almost impossible to achieve there), you do also need to be on the look-out for post-operative complications such as these:
Having a low-grade fever (100 degrees or so) is not entirely uncommon following an operation but if you develop a fever above 101 degrees you need to alert your surgeon. A high fever can be an indication that you have an infection, either internally or at the wound site. A high fever can also be a symptom of other postoperative complications like pneumonia. Your temperature needs to be checked at least twice a day in the days following your procedure. Even simple surgeries can have rare complications that you need to look out for.
- Worsening Pain
Most surgeries result in mild to moderate pain, especially if you have a large incision, but this should be a manageable pain. Your surgeon will prescribe you painkillers for your recovery, if you notice that these are not effective or your pain is getting worse then you need to let your surgeon know. The same thing applies if your pain gets worse suddenly or it gets worse over a few days and not better, pain can be a sign of malpractice or complications that require urgent medical attention. There are medical malpractice myths that do the rounds often on the internet but if your wound is not healing properly it could be because your operation was not performed as it should have been.
- Shortness of Breath
Sudden, severe shortness of breath after surgery requires immediate medical assistance. Any surgery that requires you to be under general anesthesia can increase your risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis. Deep Vein Thrombosis, otherwise known as DVT, is caused by a blood clot that travels through the bloodstream into your lungs and can cause a fatal pulmonary embolism. You can reduce your risk by walking as much as possible during your recovery.
- An Infected Wound
If your surgical incision is producing sticky fluids that are thin and clear or thicker and have a yellow tinge, you shouldn’t need to worry as this is a normal discharge that is part of the healing process. However, if your incision is oozing a green or foul-smelling discharge then it is probably infected and you need medical help to fix it. Be on the lookout for red areas around the wound site and check if that area is hot to the touch, these are also signs of an infection.
- Persistent Vomiting
Some vomiting can be expected after certain surgeries but if you experience persistent vomiting for more than 2 days after your surgery then you need to call your surgeon’s office and let them know. Don’t just take over-the-counter medications as this could be a sign of post-op complications that need to be addressed by your healthcare provider.
Article by John Moran