During the immediate post-operative period, your surgeon will provide precise instructions regarding therapies and care necessary for recovery. For the majority of surgical interventions, your active involvement and dedication to the rehabilitative program are necessary and fundamental to reaching a better and faster final result.
The day of the surgery
Immediately after the surgical intervention, if you will be receiving peripheral anesthesia, you will be transferred onto the ward; on the other hand, for major surgeries and after general anesthesia, you will be kept in the continuous monitoring area, called recovery, where your conditions will be constantly monitored by nurses and anesthesiologists until they are stabilized, then you will be transferred to the ward; the period in recovery lasts from 1 to 4 hours.
Caring for the wound
There will be a sterile bandage covering and protecting the surgical wound, which will be regularly changed during medications planned by the surgeon on the basis of specific necessities.
Depending on the type of sutures, the stitches (metal, thread or reabsorbing), will be removed or will spontaneously fall out approximately 2 weeks after the intervention. The wound can be wet after the stitches are removed, being careful to keep it clean and using neutral soaps. The scabs will fall off alone, do not try to remove them.
You will be prescribed different types of drugs to control pain. The antibiotic prophylactic to prevent infections will be given solely in the hospital. In surgery of the lower limbs, normally an anti-thromboembolism drug with heparin will be prescribed; this will have to be taken daily at the same time and continued until normal walking starts again, unless otherwise indicated.
Keep the limb elevated, and when not otherwise indicated, moving the operated joint and the one above and below helps to reduce swelling and recovery functionality more quickly.
In case of interventions on the lower limbs, loads will be allowed or not based on individual characteristics.
Muscular reinforcement is always recommended, normally isometric (without moving the joint), starting from the initial post-operative phases; a detailed program of exercises to follow at home will be given by the surgeon or physical therapist.
The physical therapist, especially for major surgeries, is a very important figure that will guide you in the various phases of rehabilitation until complete recovery.
There will be several check-ups planned to evaluate your progress through complete recovery. When healing has occurred, in prosthetic surgery, it is recommended, even if you are feeling well, to get a clinical and x-ray evaluation at least every two years. Refer immediately to your surgeon if you have any anomalous symptoms or pain.
Once you are discharged, be sure to have help with basic home-making tasks such as cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.
Get the devices, where indicated, that are necessary especially after major surgical interventions on the lower limbs, such as higher toilet seats, chairs and armchairs with adequate stability on the ground, a fixed back and armrests on which to support yourself.