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Information for Patients & Caregivers

After Surgery

Surgery puts major strain on the body so it is normal to feel exhausted afterwards. Some people may also feel depressed because of the initial pain and discomfort that can follow surgery. The effects of the anaesthetic can also take a while to wear off.

You may find that you are sore and uncomfortable at the site of the operation, have bruising, and stiff and sore muscles. You will be given painkillers to help with this. Initially, you will probably not feel like eating much, but try to make sure that you drink plenty as you may become constipated.

If you have had a general anaesthetic, you will come round in the recovery room with the nurse or other people involved in your operation, where you will be monitored carefully. You will usually feel drowsy. Some people do not wake up properly until they are back in the ward and you may not remember your time in the recovery room.  People who have had an epidural anaesthetic or nerve block may not have much feeling in their legs for 12–24 hours.

You might have to wear a brace temporarily if extra support is needed in case of weak ligaments or poor wound healing.  You will probably have painkilling drugs and fluids going through a tube into your arm for a day or so. If you have had a major operation, like a joint replacement, you will also have drains on your wounds to remove blood that could cause excess bruising. Some people have a catheter, which is a small tube inserted into the bladder to empty urine directly into a plastic bag.

Depending on your operation, your arms or feet may be elevated. If you have had a joint replacement there may be a foam wedge or pillows between your legs to keep your new joint in place.