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What are the Best Tips for Healing After Surgery?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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Surgery is a traumatic experience for the body, and healing after surgery will take some time. It is important to follow any of your surgeon's instructions to the letter regarding any medications, physical movements, or weight limitations, and to ask any additional questions you may have. In general, the best methods for healing after surgery involve a combination of carefully controlled physical movement with plenty of rest. In addition, following a healthy diet that contains some extra protein is another excellent way to promote healing and to regain energy after surgery.

Once the patient is allowed to get up and get moving again, it is important to do so. Not only does this help to prevent blood clots from forming from remaining in bed, it encourages healing because it helps to get the muscles working and the blood flowing again. Depending on the specific instructions of the doctor, even getting up and walking around slowly for a few minutes each hour can help. As time progresses, physical therapy might be necessary to restore strength or flexibility in a specific area if it was affected by the surgery, though this will also be determined by your doctor.

Of course, it is also important for the body to get plenty of rest in order to promote the healing process. In addition to the recommended eight hours or more of sleep per night, it is very likely that the patient will want to nap during the day, or simply sit quietly and rest for most of the time. This is perfectly normal and to be expected; the body needs to regenerate its energy reserves, and can only do this by getting enough rest. As time goes by, the patient will need to rest less and less during the day, and will become more physically active.

One of the other most important things to do to encourage healing after surgery is to follow a healthy, balanced diet. The body needs nutrients to heal and recover, so it is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Protein is also essential for repairing the bodily tissues that were damaged in surgery. Patients might find that their caloric needs increase for a period of time after surgery; this is also normal, and it is important not to restrict calories while recovering. The body generally will indicate this by increased hunger or even weight loss if the caloric needs are not being met while healing from surgery.

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Discussion Comments
By Drentel — On Feb 21, 2014

When I had surgery on my ankle years ago, I was surprised how quickly the nurses in the hospital had me out of bed and walking up and down the halls. I wasn't putting much pressure on the foot, but I was moving.

I didn't eat any special healing foods after surgery, but I did eat pretty much anything I could get on a plate. Then again, I was a teenager at the time.

By Animandel — On Feb 20, 2014

Generally, after surgery, patients are encouraged to move about and eat healthy and as much as they want. However, this varies depending on the type of surgeries the patients have had.

Of course, the recovery plan for a person who had ankle surgery will not be identical to the recovery program for someone who had intestinal surgery to combat colon cancer. However, regardless of the type of surgery, keeping the incision area clean is important to promote wound healing after surgery.

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