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How to Recover From surgery Like a Professional

By Casey Schack, PT, CSCS, Cert-MDT

Supervisor of Therapy Services for Sterling Care, Licensed Physical Therapist


Any type of surgery, be it a simple day procedure or a more complex procedure with a hospital stay, is not easy. However, acquiring pre-surgery knowledge, properly preparing, and following post-operative instructions are the keys to ensuring a smoother and faster recovery.

First, Consult with Your Doctor. Acquiring pre-surgery knowledge and talking to your doctors are the most essential components to success after surgery. See the necessary doctors, such as your surgeon or your primary care physician. Take someone along with you who can take notes because the process can be very overwhelming. Make sure your medication list is correct and that you have all the medications filled prior to surgery so you do not need any last-minute pharmacy runs.


Be Prepared. Setting up your home appropriately is a necessity. For any surgery where walking can be compromised, roll/pull up rugs, clear pathways especially if you will be coming home with a walking device. Make sure your bed and “go to” chair are all set up with a nearby phone, medications, remotes, and chargers. If you live alone it is especially important to make sure your refrigerator is sufficiently stocked and have easy-prep meals that can be microwaved. Most people have difficulty with sleeping after surgery. Supportive pillows of different sizes and firmness are useful to adjust your position, or to elevate your head or surgical leg.


Typically, after any surgery, ice is a necessity to manage pain and swelling. You can rent a professional ice machine that filters cold water through the ice pack (your doctor can help set this up). The con of this machine is that it needs to be replaced with ice daily. You can instead opt for multiple ice packs. Be equipped ahead of time with your ice, as you will need it as soon as you get home.

Will You Need Help at Home?

Organize in-home assistance for activities of daily living (ADLs). You may need hands on help for bathing, meals, and light housekeeping, all of which may not be covered by insurance. You may need more medical assistance such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing. Speak to your surgeon ahead of time, determine what type of home care you will need. Certain insurances like Medicare will cover skilled home care services, if you are truly homebound and unable to leave your home safely. Sterling Care is a home care agency that has a team of licensed experts that can provide support on all levels of in-home care.


Give us a call. We’ll be happy to help. Sterling Care (203) 532-0500
Now that you and your home are set up for success, make sure you follow ALL the post-operative instructions. Your recovery will be delayed by you taking on too much at once. Your post-operative recovery will be hastened if you are knowledgeable and prepared.

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