What to Expect After Surgery
- Bruising and swelling
- You will have mild bruising and swelling initially. This may start at the surgical site but can track up or down your leg.
- This is normal after surgery and the extent will vary from person to person.
- This will typically increase over the 1st two weeks after surgery.
- Expect swelling in your entire leg, including your foot
- You may feel very stiff and tight in your surgical leg.
- You will feel tired and your energy level will be decreased after surgery.
Wound Care (see “Surgical Dressing Instructions”)
- Keep your surgical bandage intact for the first week following surgery.
- You may shower with the bandage on, but NO BATHS!
- Pat dressing dry gently when finished.
- Often times your physical therapist or home care nurse will remove your surgical bandage for you.
- This should be removed 1 week after surgery.
- If they do not, you may do so 1 week following surgery.
- You may have a mesh dressing (Prineo) underneath the outer dressing.
- Take care removing the outer dressing and do not disrupt the mesh underneath.
- This mesh is also waterproof and you can shower with it on.
- Typically the mesh stays on for 3-4 weeks after surgery
- This may be removed at 3 weeks during your clinic visit, or may remain on for a total of 4 weeks as needed
- If you have skin adhesive over your incision, do not soak or scrub off rather allow this to come off on its own.
- Most patients will need some type of pain management until about 2-4 weeks post-op.
- If you need additional pain medications, please call the office and allow a 24 hour notice for your prescription to be ready for pick up
- Most pain medication cannot be called into the pharmacy, so please arrange for pick up at the office.
- If you are reaching your global post-op period of 90 days and still find that you need pain medications, we may refer you to a pain management clinic for further follow up.
- Continue your anti-coagulant medications as instructed.
- Limit activity to your home during your first week following surgery.
- You may continue icing and elevating as instructed.
- Continue wearing your compression stockings for the first 48 hours, removing at night time.
- Minimize your activities and limit physical activity to your home exercises to help minimize swelling.
- You may continue to use your walker, crutches or cane for 2-4 weeks until you can walk without a limp.
- No driving while taking pain medications.
- You may usually begin driving in 1-2 weeks for the left leg and 2-4 weeks for the right leg.
Follow-up: First Postoperative Visit
- You should be seen in the office about 3 weeks postoperatively for your scheduled appointment, unless instructed otherwise.
- At this visit, we will evaluate your wound, as well as take x-rays.
- We will make sure incision has healed appropriately.
- Additional instructions regarding activity will be discussed.
- Additional follow-up visits will be coordinated at this appointment as needed.
Diet and Rest
- Eat a healthy diet to promote healing.
- You may experience a decreased appetite after surgery. This is normal and should gradually resolve itself.
- Take rest breaks as needed during the day and get a good night's sleep to support the healing process.
- It is common to have difficulty sleeping after surgery. This will gradually improve.
- You may sleep on your back or on your side with a pillow between your legs for comfort.
- Typically, outpatient physical therapy will start one week after surgery.
- Physical therapy will be scheduled for approximately 2-3 times a week and last an average of 6-8 weeks.
Return to Work
- Your ability to return to work will largely depend on the type of work you do (desk job, laborer, etc.).
- Everyone will be slightly different and estimations may vary based on comfort and progression after surgery but in general:
- Desk job: with minimal swelling ~3-5days
- Standing Job: 2-4 weeks
- Hard labor: 6-8 weeks