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What to Expect After Your Procedure

Where you will go after your procedure?

After your procedure, you will recover in the recovery room or in an intensive care unit, as appropriate for your procedure. During your recovery, the staff will closely monitor your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure until you are ready to be discharged home or moved to an inpatient room.

When you wake up

You may be uncomfortable after the procedure. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Pain
  • Sore throat

These are common aftereffects of anesthesia and having a procedure. Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve these discomforts.

You may wake up with a small tube (or catheter) in your bladder. The catheter helps you urinate and helps your doctor know that your kidneys and bladder are working normally. A staff member can easily remove this tube when your doctor says you are ready.

Visitation after procedure

Outpatients: If you are having an outpatient procedure, you may have visitors once you are awake and able to move to a recliner, typically after one hour.

Inpatients: If you are staying in the hospital for a longer period of time, your family may visit once you are transferred to your room, typically within two hours. If you are still in the recovery area after two hours, your family may be permitted to visit. Visitation in the recovery area is limited to two people. If you have a large family, please designate which two family members will visit.

Begin to participate in your recovery

Recovery goes more smoothly if you become physically active soon after your procedure. For this reason, the staff will ask you to move and walk around as soon as it is appropriate. You should gradually increase your activity level while giving yourself time to rest.

You may be asked to complete deep breathing and coughing exercises to help prevent fluids from building up in your lungs, a condition that can lead to pneumonia. To help you get better faster, staff members may frequently ask you to breathe deeply and cough.

For information about pain control, please reference the Additional Information section.

Going home

Your doctor will decide when you are ready to be discharged from the hospital. You will receive instructions on continuing your recovery at home.

Care for your incision

An incision or puncture site may be closed with staples or stitches. Your incision or puncture site may be covered by a bandage or dressing. There also may be a tube in the incision and dressing.

The following are tips to help your incision heal quickly:

  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching the area.
  • Take warm showers instead of baths (if permitted in your doctor’s instructions).

Ask Questions

Before you leave, you should ask the following questions:

  • What medicine(s) will I be taking at home? How much medicine should I take? When should I take it?
  • What is the best way to care for my incision(s)?
  • What signs of infection should I watch for?
  • What should I eat?
  • How should I bathe, and how often?
  • When should I schedule my follow-up visit?
  • How much physical activity can I handle?
  • When can I resume sexual activity?
  • Can I drive?
  • When can I go back to work?

Be sure that you and your family understand all the instructions given to you. If you have questions when you get home, call your doctor.

When to call your doctor

You should contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • You develop a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You experience unusual redness or drainage around the incision or puncture site.
  • You develop a rash around the incision or puncture site.
  • Your incision or puncture site bleeds or you have an open incision. Apply pressure to affected area to control bleeding; place a bandage, if needed.
  • Your medicine is not controlling your pain.