Common Questions and Answers

This website should not be taken as medical advice-it is only a guide. Medical advice can only be given after establishment of a patient/provider relationship and should be sought directly from your surgeon and/or primary care provider. Specific questions before and after surgery should be directed to our office.

You should always follow up with your surgeon after an operation and after discharge. Most of the time, recommended follow-up expectations are found in your discharge orders and are usually 1 to 2 weeks after surgery or discharge from the hospital. You will need to call the office at (940) 387-7588 to schedule your postoperative appointment.”
Most of the time, the discharge orders will tell you how your surgeon wants you to care for your incision/wound. Most dressings can be removed at 48 hours. If Dermabond (glue) was used over the incisions, showers can begin the same day of the operation! Do not take a bath or swim for about 2 weeks after the operation to allow the incisions enough time to heal adequately. Towel dry after the shower and place a new dressing. Allow steri-strips (butterfly bandages) to fall off by themselves, which usually happens at 1-2 weeks. Incisions with Dermabond (glue) over the incisions do not need dressings.
Most patients can begin driving when they no longer require narcotics (pain medicines) for pain control. Driving or operating heavy machinery is never recommended when taking such medications. Ask your surgeon at your follow-up visit when you can return to driving.
Return to work depends on several factors: is there heavy lifting or strenuous activity required, length of workdays, driving or operating heavy machinery, type of surgery, etc. You cannot require narcotics for pain and expect to be productive at work. A follow-up visit 1-2 weeks after surgery is frequently needed before returning to work.
Antibiotics should usually be finished when prescribed, even if you are feeling better. Side effects or allergic reactions can happen when taking antibiotics or any medications; if you think you cannot or should not finish the antibiotics please let your surgeon know, as he may want to change you to a different one. Frequently after vascular surgery, you may be placed on aspirin, Plavix, or coumadin. These "blood thinners" are important and should not be stopped unless discussed with your surgeon or another physician. Coumadin levels in your blood can fluctuate, and you will need to follow the blood levels closely, especially when beginning this medication. If you have a question about a specific medication, please let us know before you stop taking it or change the dose.
Although a small amount of drainage from your incision or wound may be normal, it should be evaluated by our nurses or your surgeon. Infected wounds/incisions are warm to the touch, red, painful, and may have purulent fluid (pus) draining. Fevers are common with a wound infection. If you suspect that your wound/incision is infected, notify us immediately.
A bowel prep when ordered before an operation is extremely important. The prep usually begins the day before the operation and involves the ingestion of a large volume of medicine to "clean out" your colon. Without your colon "cleaned out", the operation may have to be cancelled. Nobody likes the bowel prep, but it is necessary. Please drink plenty of water the day of the prep and don't drink or eat anything after midnight the day of the operation.
If your mediport is not routinely accessed, blood can clot in it. If this occurs, it will not work. We recommend port flushes every 6 weeks to keep the catheter patent. We do offer this in our office to our patients.
A low-residue diet is frequently ordered after an operation. It minimizes distention of the bowel by reducing volume. Fiber is avoided. Acceptable foods in a low-residue diet can be found here.
Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Your intestine normally have "good bacteria" that help in digesting foods. These "good bacteria" can become altered around surgery and when taking antibiotics. Probiotics can help restore your normal bowel flora after an operation or while taking antibiotics. Although there are many expensive probiotics on the market, yogurt is a less expensive alternative that confers this benefit. Yogurt should be ingested routinely after an operation once your diet has been advanced.
The output of your drain should be drained and measured daily. Record the output everyday and bring in a record to your clinic appointments. Soap and water can be used to irrigate the skin around the drain during a daily shower. Please avoid baths and standing water while a drain is in place. Towel dry after the shower and replace the dressing.
You should not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds for the amount of time ordered by your surgeon. No strenuous activity includes running, weightlifting, or any activity that involves heavy breathing. Walking and even walking up stairs is allowed.