Although surgeons usually get all of the credit for a successful procedure, the fact of the matter is that you play a significant role in your own healing process. As you prepare for and recover from surgery, you will be given loads of instructions, which can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, failing to remember the important stuff can cause big issues down the road. Here are two pieces of surgery advice not to ignore, so that you can recover properly.
1: Honestly Answer All Medical History Questions
Everyone has a past, but some people would rather not discuss it with perfect strangers. However, when you are faced with surgery, you might have to divulge more than you like. In order to treat your condition as effectively as possible, doctors, nurses, and surgeons will routinely ask you several questions related to your medical history. Unfortunately, not everyone likes to share the details of their past, and choose to hide important facts from their doctors.
Although you might think that your embarrassing medical history is none of your doctor's business, the fact of the matter is that failing to disclose the true nature of your past can have dire consequences.
For example, if you suffer from a disease that causes immune suppression like HIV or AIDS, your doctor might need to treat you with different medications that will boost your immune response. On the other hand, if you have developed a tolerance to certain medications from a prior drug use problem, your doctor might have to treat your pain more aggressively, and in a much more controlled manner.
As you prepare for surgery, always be completely honest with your medical team. Share information about previous surgeries, past or present medical conditions, medications, or personal tendencies that could affect your procedure. Remember that your doctor uses physician-patient privilege, which preserves your confidentiality.
2: Follow Doctor's Orders
When you are discharged from the hospital, your doctor will give you instructions for how to recover at home. In general, these instructions consist of things to avoid, or ways to speed your recovery. Although most people have good intentions when it comes to following doctor's orders, patients rarely follow all of the rules.
After lounging around for a few days and enjoying a couple of TV series binges, most people decide that it is time to call it quits on the whole "sick" thing. People often return to work sooner than they are supposed to, forget about getting enough rest, and skip out on important medications.
Unfortunately, your proactivity about returning to your normal life can cause more problems than it solves. For example, if you have a surgery with a large incision, you might unintentionally keep that wound from healing on its own. If you decide to get back to the gym and start moving sooner than you should, your incision could split wide open.
This condition is called wound dehiscence, and it occurs when the cut skin or underlying tissues fail to bond together properly. Your wound is most likely to develop this problem in the first two weeks following your operation, which is one of the reasons that doctors tell people to take it easy.
As your doctor rattles off instructions for your at-home recovery, take careful notes and follow them to the letter of the law. These directions can keep you from causing extra injuries, which could potentially slow your recovery even more. If you really want to get back to your normal activities, listen to your doctor, take it slow, and don't skip any steps.
Making the right decisions regarding your surgery, from open heart to head and neck surgery, can help you to avoid serious complications, so that you can get on with your life.