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Post-Operative Instructions

Post-operative instructions to assist your recovery

The following instructions will provide helpful information that will assist your recovery. These are designed to be general guidelines. Remember, everyone recovers differently. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor.

Directives for after your procedure

Call your doctor if:

  • Your temperature is 101°F or higher. It is not uncommon to have a low-grade fever after surgery.
  • You have new redness around the incision or if pus drains from the incision.
  • Severe bleeding occurs. Apply direct pressure to the area.
  • Severe abdominal pain, vomiting, or jaundice occurs (yellow tint to eyes or skin).
  • If you cannot get in touch with your doctor, call or go to the East Jefferson General Hospital Emergency Room at 504.503.4377.
  • Call 911 in an emergency.

Pain medication

  • You will be given a prescription for a pain medicine after surgery, usually a pill called Vicodin or Percocet.
  • Please follow the directions on the label.
  • Do not drive while taking pain medication.
  • Do not take pain medication on an empty stomach. This may make you nauseated.
  • Use a stool softener or gentle laxative (such as Dulcolax suppository, or pill), as constipation is not uncommon with some pain medication.
  • If you no longer need your prescribed pain medication, you may take over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) for pain.
  • Refer to the medication instructions on the form titled "Medication Reconciliation" provided by the hospital.


  • If at all possible, have someone with you to help you at all times.
  • You may resume your pre-operative level of activity 24 hours after surgery.
  • Going up stairs is not a problem.
  • Listen to your body and rest when you are tired.
  • Do not lift anything heavy (over 15 pounds) or as directed by your physician.
  • Do not drive a motor vehicle; operate machinery or power tools for 24 hours or while taking pain medications.


  • Advance to your diet as directed by your physician slowly over the next day or two.
  • Do not drink alcohol in the immediate postoperative period while taking pain medication.

Wound care

  • If you have a clear see-through bandage over the incision, you may take a shower. The bandage is waterproof.
  • It is not uncommon for some reddish fluid to accumulate under the plastic bandage. This is no cause for alarm.
  • The clear see-through bandage may be removed after three days. It is ok to leave it on until follow up with your physician.
  • If you have a gauze bandage over the incision, you may remove it in 48 hours. At that time you may shower.
  • If you have narrow white tape strips over the incision (steri-strips), keep them dry for 48 hours. Do not remove them unless they are curling up at the side and almost falling off (if you remove them sooner, you risk pulling the incision apart). You may then shower.
  • Staples or sutures are generally removed in 7-14 days.
  • Many incisions will have buried absorbable sutures, which do not need to be removed.


  • Showers should be quick (five minutes long).
  • Do not soak in the bathtub until instructed by your doctor.

Drain care

  • If you have a drain, record the time and amount of drainage on a piece of paper. Empty the drain every few hours or as needed. The nurse will explain how the drain works before you are discharged from the hospital.


Please make your follow-up appointment by calling the office or as instructed by your physician. Most appointments are for 7-14 days following your surgery. If you have any problems before then, do not hesitate to call.

Pre-operative instructions for your upcoming surgical procedure

How to prepare for your procedure

Surgery scheduling
  • Your physician will begin the scheduling process with the hospital.
  • A representative from our team will verify your records and make an appointment for your pre-surgical evaluation.
  • Your pre-surgical evaluation may either take place in person or by phone, depending on your physician's orders. Any preoperative testing will be ordered during your evaluation.
  • If you have not been reached by phone and your surgery is scheduled to occur within the next 48 hours, please call 504.503.5445 from 7:30 am-5 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Your medications will be discussed in detail during your pre-admission interview.
  • Please make sure the nurse knows about any prescription medicines, non-prescription medicines, vitamins, herbs, or supplements you may be taking.
  • Please bring all bottles of prescription and non-prescription items to your pre-admission interview and the day of surgery.
  • Some medicines such as aspirin, aspirin containing compounds, Coumadin, Pradaxa or Plavix impair the body's ability to form a clot and stop bleeding. Based on your needs, specific details on these medications will be discussed at the time of your interview.
  • You will be instructed on what medicines you should and should not take in the days leading up to your surgery and on the morning of the surgery itself.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin or another diabetes medicine, instructions will be provided on how to adjust your medicine on the day of surgery when you will not be eating.
  • Certain surgeries require a bowel cleanout. If you have been given a bowel prep sheet, please follow the directions.
The day before surgery
  • Please contact your surgeon's office to validate your arrival time.
  • Please follow the shower guidelines that have been provided.
  • Do not shave near your surgical site. Shaving can irritate your skin, which may lead to infection.
  • Do not smoke on the day before surgery. This is irritating for your lungs.
  • Do not eat any solid food or drink any liquids as instructed at the time of your interview. This includes water, candy, and chewing gum.
The day of surgery
  • If you've been asked to take routine or other medicines on the morning of surgery, please take them with a very small sip of water.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing and flat shoes.
  • Leave jewelry and valuables at home. If you wear contact lenses, please bring your glasses with you. Please remove any body piercings.
  • Please arrive at the hospital at the specified time.
  • Because of urgent cases, there may be a delay in the start of your surgery or, your start time could be earlier than expected if last minute cancellations occur. If possible, bring something to read and arrive early.
  • If you receive general anesthesia, you will be taken to the Recovery Room for approximately one hour after your procedure.
  • If you are going to be discharged from the hospital after surgery, you will be allowed to go home when you are fully alert.
  • A nurse will review your post-operative instructions and prepare you for discharges from the hospital.
  • You will not be allowed to drive yourself home. Please make arrangements for someone to take you home.