General Postoperative Instructions


Apart from the specific instructions given to you during your preoperative visit, the basic general instructions that you should follow after your surgery are as follows:

  • Take pain relieving and other medications as advised. Pain medications should be taken with food.  After the first 48 hours of surgery, take the pain medication only as needed.
  • Do not drink alcohol, drive a vehicle, operate any machinery, or sign any legal documents for the first 24 hours after the surgery as the effects of the sedative and/or the anesthesia administered during the surgery may last for the first 24 hours of the surgery.
  • Do not drive while taking any narcotic medications. Based on the surgery, weight bearing restrictions, and need for brace you may have additional driving restrictions as well that will be discussed during your preoperative and postoperative visits.
  • Use ice packs to control swelling. You can use for 2 hours on and 2 hours off as needed for the first 48 hours and even later, if required.  Make sure that the ice bag does not leak onto the dressing.
  • Follow the specific restrictions of activity, as advised. Remember that it is easier to prevent developing pain rather than managing it once it has already developed.  Rest for a few days after the surgery and keep the operated extremity elevated, above the level of the heart, to control swelling.
  • Keep the dressing clean, dry, and in place until you are able to remove and begin showering. This time period will be in your postoperative instructions and discussed during your preoperative and postoperative visits.
  • Begin physical therapy as discussed during your preoperative visits. Exercises will begin with regaining your motion and slowly progress to strengthening exercises under guidance from your surgeon and your therapist.  Regular exercises are critical for a successful outcome.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks.
  • Schedule your follow-up appointment with your doctor as advised.

Please contact the office immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Increased drainage from the incision
  • Increased redness around the operated area
  • Increased swelling that does not decreased with ice and elevation
  • Foul odor from the operated area
  • Fever greater than 101.5F
  • Coldness, numbness, or blanched white or bluish color of the fingers or toes
  • Sudden calf pain or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Any other concerning signs or symptoms

If you are concerned and feel that your symptoms require emergent treatment then go to the nearest emergency room department.