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Phone: 301-631-3881
Fax: 301-631-3883

Recovery and Information During Your Stay

After Surgery

You can expect to rest in our recovery room for approximately 40 minutes, under the care of specially trained nurses. Your anesthesiologist will monitor and be apprised of your condition while in the recovery room until you are discharged.

Our staff will answer your questions and give you post-operative instructions as ordered by your physician. You will receive a written copy of these instructions prior to discharge.

You may be dizzy, sleepy, and nauseated after your surgery, even after spending time in the recovery room. You must have a responsible adult with you to drive you home. You will not be discharged from the recovery room until you have a responsible person over the age of 18 to drive you home.

We are interested in your complete and uncomplicated recovery. The following guidelines, used in conjunction with your doctor’s specific postoperative instructions, will help you achieve that goal.


  • Some of the medications you received during your procedure can stay in your body for up to 24 hours. Because these drugs can affect your reflexes and sense of balance, you should go straight home and rest for the remainder of the day. We strongly suggest that you have a responsible adult with you for the first 24 hours.
  • Resume taking any medications prescribed for you prior to surgery as instructed by your surgeon or primary physician. If you did not receive instructions or are unsure about what to do, please call your doctor.
  • Take prescribed pain medications as needed, but do not take pain pills if you are not experiencing pain. Always take pain medication with food, as directed.
  • Start taking prescribed antibiotics soon after your procedure, as directed. Remember to take all pills in your antibiotic prescription, as directed. Be sure to follow specific instructions about taking antibiotics with certain foods and/or milk.
  • A rash, itching, swelling or difficulty with breathing, are some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to medications. If you develop any of these symptoms, stop taking the medication immediately and notify your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.


  • Fluid intake is especially important after surgery. Try to drink at least one glass of water or juice every hour.
  • If you become nauseated or vomit, reduce your intake to ice chips. As the nausea subsides, gradually increase your fluid intake again.
  • Your first meal after surgery should be on the light side, such as crackers, toast or clear soups. Return to your regular diet as tolerated.
  • If you have consumed adequate fluid after surgery, you should be able to urinate within 6 to 8 hours.


  • Most people feel tired or sleepy after surgery. You should take frequent rest periods and gradually increase your physical activity until you can maintain your normal activity level.

I.V. Site

  • It is normal for the I.V. site to be bruised, slightly reddened and a little sore. Warm packs applied to the site will help relieve some of the discomfort.
  • If the area becomes hard and swollen, or if a reddened line appears along the vein above the insertion site, please notify your surgeon.


  • If surgery was performed on your arm or leg, remember to elevate the limb above the level of the heart using two pillows.
  • Apply ice packs to the area, as needed, for the first 24-48 hours to help control pain and swelling. Apply the ice pack to the area intermittently (30 minutes on, 30 minutes off). Never apply ice packs directly to the skin. Instead, cover the area with a towel or some clothing, then apply the ice pack.
  • Wiggle your fingers and toes of the affected limb, and compare with the other side to make certain both are equally warm and pink. If you notice significant swelling, discoloration, numbness or tingling, please call your surgeon immediately.
  • Keep your dressing clean and dry.

Diabetic Patients

  • If you are a diabetic, you should have received specific instructions about how to modify and/or resume your diet and insulin routine. If you did not, and you are unsure about what to do, please call your doctor.
  • Diabetic patients need to maintain good hygiene and nutrition to ensure proper healing after surgery.

When To Call Your Doctor

  • Although most postoperative complications occur in a very small number of cases, you should be aware of some of the most obvious symptoms. Do not hesitate to notify your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms:
        • Temperature of 101° or greater
        • Redness, swelling or tenderness at he site of you incision
        • Any unusual or foul smelling discharge
        • Excessive bleeding at the site of the incision
        • Pain that is not relieved by pain medication
        • Persistent nausea and vomiting
        • Pain, redness and/or significant swelling of your calf (lower leg muscle)