FOR PATIENTS: Recovering from Surgery
The speed at which you recover following orthopaedic surgery and the completeness of your recovery depends on a number of factors, most of which are under your control. The following tips will help your body repair itself as quickly and completely as possible:
- Either rest or gentle mobilization of the affected body part may be recommended by your surgeon. Instructions for simple exercises and/or a splint or brace may also be provided.
- Sleep as often as you can. Your body repairs itself during sleep. Many people compromise the speed of their recovery by trying to get up and about too soon.
- Stay hydrated. Fluids are important as they help keep your tissues hydrated. Aim for eight cups of fluid a day. Do not consume caffeinated beverages as these are diuretics and cause the body to lose water.
- Eat well. Healthy foods are critical to the complete repair of your body. Protein is particularly important as it contains amino acids which will help build your tissues. Consider a protein-rich multivitamin shake (available from pharmacies and supermarkets). Calcium for most adults is 1200-1500mg a day in divided doses (Calcium citrate is best absorbed). Vitamin D recommendations are changing and most specialists agree adults should get 1000 IU per day of Vitamin D.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking, in effect, steals oxygen from cells that are in the process of healing and is a risk factor for wound infection in almost any kind of surgery. In addition, recent research has shown that nicotine in any form directly inhibits bone healing at the cellular level. Optimally, you should quit using tobacco as soon as you know you will be having surgery, and continue to avoid nicotine throughout your recovery.
- Think positive thoughts. Repeatedly visualizing your prompt and complete recovery may help you get better faster and will keep depression at bay.
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