We’re glad you’ve chosen to consider Surgical Consultants for your surgical care. At Surgical Consultants, we pride ourselves on making surgery as easy and pleasant for our patients as possible. As part of our commitment, we do everything we can to explain and clarify every step of the process. We understand that surgery is an unfamiliar experience for most of our patients and that information is often the best way we can provide comfort and peace of mind – both before and after your operation. The information here is intended to provide answers to questions many patients have about our services. If your question or concern is not addressed completely, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
An on-call physician is always available for urgent concerns at your Surgical Consultants office phone number. For less pressing questions, leave a message in the general voicemail at either of our offices and your call will be returned on the next business day. If you feel you need immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1.Do I need to come back after my surgery?
If you had “Derma bond” tissue glue used as a dressing (this causes your incision to look shiny with a clear covering over it), please note that this type of dressing wears off with time and does not require more dressings over the top unless there is drainage around the glue as it wears off. Do not apply ointments or lotions over the incisions until the glue has completely worn off.
There is a piece of tape or a sticky “lead” still on my skin. Can I remove this?
Sometimes the sticky “leads” used for monitoring during surgery or for evaluation in the emergency department are not all removed while you are in the hospital. These sometimes have a tab or metal dot on them. You can easily remove these on your own. If there is a gel substance under the “lead”, simply clean it off with a washcloth or paper towel.
What can I do to minimize constipation (very hard stools, or lack of stools)?
There are several steps you can take to minimize constipation. Stay well hydrated, and increase your dietary fiber intake or take a fiber supplement . Walk around frequently. You may consider an over-the-counter stool-softener. Your pharmacist can assist you with choosing one that is stocked at your pharmacy. Constipation is also one of the most common side effects of pain medication. If you are using pain medication, be pro-active and try to prevent problems with constipation by taking the steps above before constipation becomes a problem.
Why am I having a hard time sleeping now that I am at home?
Many medications you receive while you are in the hospital can impact your sleep for a number of days after your surgery or hospitalization. Decreased level of activity and naps during the day may also make sleeping at night difficult. Try to minimize day-time naps, and get up frequently during the day to walk around your home during your recovery time. Sleep aides may be of some help, but are not recommended for long-term use.
I am having some back discomfort. What should I do?
This may be related to certain positioning that was required for your surgery, extended periods of time in bed, or other changes in your overall activity level. You may try ice, heat, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to treat this temporarily. Note that many pain medications have acetaminophen in them and state this on the prescription bottle. Be sure not to exceed the maximum of 4000mg per day of acetaminophen. If your pain does not resolve, is severe, or is a flare of back pain you have had on other occasions prior to surgery, please contact your primary- care physician for further recommendations or for an appointment to be examined at their office.
Why am I having headaches?
Headaches can be caused by many things: caffeine withdrawal, use of pain medications, dehydration, high blood pressure, lack of sleep, over-activity or exhaustion, or flare-up of usual migraine headaches. If you feel this is related to muscle tension (a band-like feeling around the head, or a pressure at the low-back of the head) you may try ice or heat to this area. You may need to drink more fluids (try electrolyte drinks like Gatorade), rest, or take your usual migraine medications. If your headaches do not resolve, worsen, are accompanied by other symptoms, or if your blood pressure is high, please call your primary care physician for recommendation or examination.
I am unable to urinate. What do I do?
A small percentage of people can have difficulty urinating initially after surgery. This includes being able to urinate only a very small amount at a time and feeling discomfort or pressure in the very low abdomen. This is called “urinary retention”, and is actually an urgent situation. Proceed to your nearest emergency department for evaluation (not an Urgent Care Center). Sometimes the bladder does not work correctly after certain medications you receive during surgery, or related to certain procedures. You may need to have a catheter placed until your bladder recovers. When planning to go to an emergency department, it may help to call ahead and let them know you are coming in for this problem after a surgery. This may help you get in quicker to be evaluated. If you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection, please contact your primary care physician for the proper evaluation and treatment.