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Discharge & Post-Procedure

As a member of your own healthcare team, you play an important role in helping us ensure your safety. Once your procedure is complete and you are on your way home, here are a few tips to help your recovery process. Your surgeon may provide additional recovery instructions; please refer to those as well. Download our Post-Surgery Discharge Education guide (PDF) to learn more.

General Instructions

A responsible adult should stay with you for 24 hours post-procedure. DO NOT stay alone, drive, sign important papers or make significant decisions for 24 hours. Children who have had surgery should not ride a bike, skateboard or participate in sports for 24 hours.

Warning Signs & Important Phone Numbers

Call your surgeon immediately if:

If unable to reach your surgeon, call 443-481-1000, and the operator will page the surgeon on call for his/her group.

Contact the anesthesiologist on call at 443-481-1000 if you experience:

Call 443-481-4000 to reach askAAMC, our nurse advice line, for any questions or problems you may have related to your procedure. They will direct you to find appropriate care.

In the event of a real emergency, call 911.

Medications & Pain Relief

You may have some pain after your procedure. When taken as directed, pain medication is not addictive and may help you feel better, get much-needed sleep, regain strength, and recover more quickly. Take it only as directed and do not wait until pain becomes severe. If pain is not relieved, DO NOT take additional doses of medication, but instead contact your surgeon. In addition:


Caring for Your Incision

A slightly red, swollen incision is normal and some bleeding or discharge is to be expected. However, if redness, bleeding or swelling increases, or if your incision smells foul or is warm to the touch, you may have an infection. Fever can signal infection, so take your temperature if you feel warm. Call your surgeon if your temperature stays above 101 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours or if you have other symptoms of infection.


Nausea & Eating the Right Foods

You may experience nausea or vomiting after your procedure. To help prevent this or if nausea does develop, drink only clear liquids such as water, tea, sodas, flavored gelatin, or clear soup, and then try to eat toast or saltine crackers. When you are ready, advance to eating soft foods and then to high-protein foods such as fish or chicken. Avoid spicy and fatty foods, which stay in your stomach for long periods.


Resuming Physical Activity

You are likely to feel tired after your procedure, so get plenty of rest to give your body time to heal. Walking helps healing, so get up and walk around as much as possible (with your surgeon's approval). Stand up slowly so you do not get dizzy. Ask your surgeon when it is safe to increase your activity and when you can resume exercising. Do not drive until your surgeon says it is safe to do so.


Making Follow-Up Appointments

A successful procedure includes follow-up care. Your surgeon needs to check your progress to ensure you are recovering safely. Call your surgeon's office to schedule your post-procedure visit if you do not already have one.