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After Surgery Care

Having a post-surgery plan is important for a quick recovery and to get you back to normal after surgery.

Follow your doctor’s activity level recommendations after you leave the hospital. A nurse will contact you after your procedure to check in and see how you are doing. Be sure to share any concerns or questions you have. If you need home care after your procedure, your care team can help coordinate.

Arrange transportation with a friend or family member to bring you home safely following your procedure. Sedation, anesthesia and/or pain mediation may impair your ability to drive.

Speak to your physician about your post-surgery pain management plan. Be sure any prescriptions you need filled are arranged for and plan to have someone stay with you for 24 hours after your procedure even if you feel okay.

Post-Surgery Pain Management

After your surgery, you may be prescribed an opioid to help manage your pain. It is important to understand how to safely use an opioid and to understand the risks of opioid overuse.

You are the most important part of your healthcare team – ask questions and know the facts before using opioids for pain.

Common names of opioids:

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
  • Morphine (MS Contin)
  • Codeine (Tylenol #3, Tylenol #4)
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)

Questions to ask your health care provider before your surgery:

  • How long should I expect to have pain?
  • Can I use over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve)?
  • What other things can I do to help control my pain? (Ice, rest, elevate, exercise, lifting or activity restrictions)
  • Could I be a candidate for a nerve block, local anesthetic catheter or an epidural as an opioid-sparing option?
  • Who do I call if my pain is not controlled, getting worse or I am having side effects from my opioids?
  • Can I have fewer opioid pills because I have small children or teenagers in the house?

Click here for more information about opioids and how to safely use them to manage pain.