General Preoperative Instructions

  1. No Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of poor wound healing. It is important that patients abstain from nicotine products (cigarettes, gum and patches) for at least 8 weeks prior to surgery and throughout the healing process.
  2. Avoid medications that thin the blood and contribute to surgical bleeding and bruising: aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Motrin and Advil), vitamin E, and herbal medications.
  3. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. Light meals are recommended for several days prior to surgery in patients undergoing abdominal procedures.
  4. Report any acute illnesses or fever prior to surgery.

General Postoperative Instructions


You will be given specific instructions for postoperative care and the appropriate prescriptions upon discharge based on your surgery.Activity:

  • No lifting greater than 10 pounds for 6 weeks
  • No strenuous activity (tennis, aerobics or jogging) for 6 weeks. Walking is okay.
  • Wear your compression garment as directed
  • Avoid first and second hand smoke for 6 weeks
  • Flying or traveling as a passenger is approved after one week


  • Take antibiotics prescribed until they are completely gone
  • Use narcotics and muscle relaxants on an as needed basis. When comfortable, switch to extra strength Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Narcotics can be a source of nausea and vomiting, constipation and addiction. Do not use alcohol, drive or operate heavy machinery while taking narcotics.
  • Over the counter aids are recommended for constipation (Colace or Senekot)

Wound Care:

  • Sometimes drains are placed at the time of surgery. They aid in the removal of fluids that accumulate in a wound in response to trauma until the body begins to compensate and eliminate these fluids on its own. If drains are not used, fluid accumulation (a seroma) may be a source of pain, infection or poor wound healing. Drains need to be stripped, emptied and recorded in 24 hour increments. Once the output is less than 30 cc (1 ounce) in a 24 hour period, they may be removed. Call our office for an appointment.
  • You may begin to shower over your incisions 24 hours after surgery. Leave any paper tape or steristrips intact or replace antibiotic ointment as instructed.

Time Off From Work:

  • We recommend 1-3 weeks off work depending on the procedure performed. Activity limitations are required for 6 weeks.

Common Expectations:

  • Swelling and bruising may take up to several weeks to subside
  • Scars will be pink and wide at first and improve with time. Final scar formation takes 6-12 months. You will be instructed on scar massage to reduce scars. Wear sunscreen over exposed scars for 1 year following surgery.
  • Numbness at the surgical site should improve with time, but may never return to preoperative degree
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