Recuperating from Same-Day Surgery
Same-day surgery is one of the fastest-growing trends in health care.
It's popular with patients because you typically arrive at the hospital in the morning, have surgery, then return home later in the day. It saves time and money, but it also means that you as patient—and your family or caregiver—must take a greater role in recuperation.
New surgical techniques and faster anesthetic agents make same-day surgery possible for cataracts, biopsies, hernia repairs, dental implants, and other conditions. But even though you spend limited time in the hospital, you shouldn't underestimate the effects of these procedures.
There are risks any time you receive anesthesia. You are likely to feel groggy for 24 hours. That means you shouldn't make important decisions just after surgery.
It's also important not to underestimate the time your recovery will take. Although you can go home just a few hours after surgery, that doesn't mean you're ready to resume your normal activities. If you stayed in the hospital following surgery, you'd be in bed resting, with people taking care of you. That's exactly what you should do at home.
Steps to take
Here are steps you should take in advance if you're scheduled for same-day surgery:
Find someone to spend at least the first 24 hours at home with you. The anesthesia may make you unsteady. You'll need someone to help prepare meals, help you take your medication on schedule, and help you get to the bathroom.
Have convenient, easily-prepared food available at home. Ask your doctor if there are any dietary restrictions you should follow after surgery.
Ask when you can resume taking your regular medications and if there are any medications you shouldn't take.
Decide where you'll be resting and set up a table where you can keep food and supplies handy.
Round up enough pillows to elevate the surgery site if your doctor recommends you do so.
Make sure you have books, movies, or other entertainment on hand to use while you recuperate.
If you normally care for a family member, find someone to take over for you while you recuperate.
If you'll be unable to walk unassisted after surgery, practice using crutches.
Plan for restrictions in your activities. You shouldn't drive for at least 24 hours, and you may not be able to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds. You may need to skip a bath or shower for a few days, depending on the surgery site.
Online Medical Reviewers:
Foster, Sara M. RN, MPH
Godsey, Cynthia M.S., M.S.N., APRN
Lambert, J.G. M.D.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care.
Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.