Post-Operative Instructions: GeneralBACK
After Your Surgery
The following instructions are useful following a procedure:
- A small amount of bleeding is common for the first few days.
- If you experience excessive bleeding, place a gauze pad directly over the surgical sites and hold it in place with firm biting pressure for 30–45 minutes or until the bleeding can be controlled.
- Replace the gauze pads every 30–45 minutes.
- Bleeding may vary from person to person.
- Gauze pads will always appear red. The way to assess bleeding is to directly look at the sites after the gauze pads have been removed.
- If the bleeding does not slow down, please call our office.
- Swelling can be normal after surgery.
- Swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the side of your face. Do this for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.
- Continue icing the face as much as possible for the first 24–36 hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
- Please do not lay flat. Use 1–2 pillows to elevate the head to avoid or minimize swelling.
- These measures may not eliminate swelling but they will help reduce its severity.
Diet–Day of Procedure:
- Soft liquidy foods are strongly recommended on the day of the procedure. Pudding, JELL-O®, applesauce, yogurt, ice cream, and smoothies are excellent options for the day of the procedure.
- Always cool down any hot foods or liquids during the first 24 hours following your procedure.
- You should eat only soft foods for the first week, such as scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, soft fish and steamed vegetables.
Diet–Foods to Avoid:
- Avoid hard, crunchy, or very chewy foods until the site is fully healed and you are pain-free.
- Discomfort can be normal after the procedure.
- Pain medication may be prescribed. It is advised that you take pain medication on the first day.
- If you are not allergic or intolerant to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you may start taking ibuprofen (Advil®or Motrin®).
- If the ibuprofen alone doesn’t control your discomfort, take the prescribed narcotic in addition.
- It is recommended that you alternate between the narcotic and ibuprofen. Do not take them at the same time.
- Be certain to take your pain medication with food, as this will help prevent an upset stomach.
- Remember: narcotic pain medication will impair your judgment and reflexes, so do not drive or operate heavy machinery.
- Typically, minors will not be prescribed narcotics, as over-the-counter pain medications are effective for these procedures.
Alcoholic Beverages & Smoking:
- Alcoholic beverages should be avoided for 24 hours before and 5 days after surgery.
- Smoking should be avoided or limited as much as possible.
- It is important to keep surgical sites really clean to avoid infection or delayed healing.
- Begin brushing your teeth on the day of surgery. It is important to brush all of your teeth even if the teeth and gums are sensitive.
- Avoid the surgical sites on the day of surgery. On the following day, gently brush over the surgical sites with no pressure.
- You may remove some stitches. Brush around the packing if one has been placed.
- No strenuous activity for 3–4 days following your surgery.
- Physical activity increases your blood pressure, which will cause an increase in your swelling, pain, and bleeding.
- You may gradually increase your activity after 3–4 days.
- Low impact activities, such as swimming, may be more comfortable at first.
- Avoid bending over, heavy lifting, or straining.
Thank you for reviewing these post-operative instructions and following them carefully.