If you’re considering orthopedic surgery, you might wonder how long recovery may take. The length of rehabilitation varies from person to person, but almost always begins immediately after surgery. Following the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will discharge you with post-op instructions to help ensure you make a full recovery.

Post-Surgery Do’s

You should always maintain a healthy diet, even if you aren’t recovering from surgery. But during the rehabilitation period, it’s more important than ever to give your body the right fuel it needs. Staying hydrated and eating the right foods can minimize complications, promote healing, and help you move past the unwanted side effects of anesthesia.

Keeping your incision clean and dressed is also important, as it helps prevent the surgical incision from becoming infected. Wash your hands before touching the incision site, and stay away from bodies of water such as baths or swimming pools to keep staples or stitches intact, and reduce chance of infection. Don’t attempt to clean it with alcohol or peroxide, unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

Getting up and moving after surgery is one of the most important things you can do post-surgery. It may seem like the wrong thing to do, but walking after surgery promotes blood flow and can speed up your recovery time. As soon as it is safe to do so, your surgeon will have you begin walking, and give you daily movement goals to meet while at home.

Post-Surgery Don’ts

Following a surgery, one of the first don’ts is driving. After coming out of surgery, your motor skills and judgement are severely limited thanks to the anesthesia and pain medication. In addition, your range of motion is restricted, so your reaction time may be slowed and could lead to getting into an accident.

Skipping appointments or stopping pain medication is another common don’t. Physical therapy and follow-up appointments are an integral part of your recovery, as is your medication. Some people hesitate to take medication out of fear of the side effects or developing an addiction. However, if you are in too much pain and cannot move, you are doing more harm than good in your recovery.

Lastly, you should never smoke after having surgery. Smoking is already dangerous to your health, and doing so after surgery prevents oxygen from reaching the wound. This not only increases your healing time by weeks, but can also increase your chances of developing an infection or pneumonia.

Our Experts Will Help Get You Back on Your Feet

The skilled orthopedic teams at Catholic Health are focused on helping every patient get back to doing what they love most, without the daily aches and pains. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are experienced in the latest, most advanced treatment methods, and our hospitals are consistently recognized for their award-winning care. In addition to being awarded 20 consecutive “A” hospital safety grades by the Leapfrog Group, Kenmore Mercy Hospital is nationally ranked for both knee replacement and hip replacement surgery, having earned a “High Performing” hospital designation by U.S. News & World Report in 2023-2024.

To learn more about our leading orthopedic care services, call 716-706-2112.