One of the most asked questions regarding surgery is ‘how long will it take for me to recover?’. In short, it depends. A wide variety of factors can impact the longevity of your recovery. However, there are still several things you can do to speed your recovery.
Factors that Can Impact Recovery Time
Generally speaking, older patients will have a longer recovery time compared to younger patients.
- Health Prior to Procedure
Similarly, the overall health of the patient before their surgery will impact how quickly they recover. Those who deal with chronic illnesses will likely recover at a slower rate than those who do not.
- Size of Incisions
Typically, larger incisions take longer to heal than small incisions. They can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to fully heal. Furthermore, surgeries that are less invasive will have a shorter recovery time.
- Willingness to Adhere to Doctors Recommendations
The speed of your recovery will depend largely on how dedicated you are to following your doctor’s instructions. Your doctor wants you to recover as quickly as possible, therefore their instructions will help you heal at an optimal rate.
- Mental Health
Your mental health can impact the speed of your recovery. Mental illnesses such as depression can decrease your rate of recovery. However, this may be due to the fact that it is harder to take proper care of yourself when in a depressive state.
What Can I Do At Home to Speed Up My Recovery?
Eat a healthy diet. After a procedure, you will want to make sure you are getting plenty of protein, vitamin C, and Zinc. These nutrients will help your body heal. Your medical provider may also suggest you take a multi-vitamin, or a supplement while you recover.
Maintain the physical limitations set by your care provider. Following surgery, your medical provider may suggest that you take it easy; not lifting anything greater than 10lbs. Follow their instructions as closely as possible so you don’t further injure yourself.
Perform light exercises when you are able. The key to recovery is blood flow. The blood in your body carries oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues; nourishing them and helping them heal.
Call Your Medical Provider Immediately If:
- Your wound appears redder than normal, swollen, or feels hot
- Your wound(s) have green or yellow drainage
- The wound smells bad
- You are bleeding and it won’t stop with added pressure
- Your pain increases
- The wound and surrounding area feel hard or full.
- Your incision reopens
- You have a fever over 101℉
It is normal for your wound(s) to feel slightly itchy, as this indicates healing. However, if this itching persists or worsens notify your doctor immediately as this could be a sign of infection.
You Recovery Will Be Delayed if You:
Resume strenuous activity too soon
After surgery, you need to rest and recover. Attempting to resume your normal daily routine too soon could result in the development of severe injury and prolong your recovery.
Remain in bed longer than necessary
As soon as your doctor recommends it, you should start doing light exercises. A key component to your recovery will be proper blood flow, which will be severely restricted if you remain on bedrest longer than necessary. This will also help your muscles regain their strength and resume their normal functions.
Fail to properly take your prescribed medications
The purpose of medicine is to help you recover. Failing to take your medicines as prescribed will delay your recovery.
Forget to eat
When your body is recovering from a procedure it needs the proper energy and nutrients to heal itself. If you do not eat, your muscles will not have the energy, nor the fluids, they need to keep your body functioning as normal.
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