Your Care After Surgery
After you have undergone surgery, your doctor may ask you to monitor your condition or perform certain activities or exercises to reduce your recovery time. These include but are not limited to deep breathing and leg exercises every one or two hours daily.
(Repeat eight-to-ten times for each exercise.)
Deep breathing helps to remove secretions in your lungs, which allows them to expand fully. Begin by breathing in through your nose (close your mouth, pull in your stomach, and let your chest expand), holding your breath for two or three seconds, then exhaling completely through your mouth. If you have had chest or abdominal surgery, holding a pillow firmly against the incision site may reduce discomfort as you breathe deeply.
You are also encouraged to cough unless you have had ear or eye surgery.
Leg exercises help to improve circulation and are necessary only while you are confined to bed. Once you can move about freely, you may discontinue them. Consult your doctor beforehand if you have had lower limb or orthopedic surgery. Begin by bending and straightening each knee alternately, sliding your foot along the bed.
If you are an inpatient, you will probably get out of bed the evening of or the day after your operation with assistance from the nursing staff. Please do not attempt this on your own.