Surgery often causes pain and tenderness in the area that was operated on, which is why it is important to talk to your doctor in advance about ways to control pain. There is also a risk of infection after any surgery.
While you are in the hospital, the nursing staff will monitor you for these problems and assist with your recovery. After you return home, be sure to call your doctor if you have any pain, redness or warmth in the surgical area, swelling, fever or chills.
Bleeding after surgery is not normal. If you have any post-operative bleeding, call your doctor’s office immediately unless it has been specifically discussed with you beforehand.
Lymphedema can also be a side effect of surgery, particularly with breast or prostate surgery. Lymphedema is swelling of an arm or leg that sometimes occurs when lymph nodes are removed. To help you avoid lymphedema, information on stretching and gentle exercise will be included in the information you receive when you are discharged from the hospital.
Advanced lymphedema can be permanent and debilitating, so it is important to watch for early symptoms. These include swelling and/or decreased flexibility in the hand, wrist, ankle or leg. It is also important to avoid any type of trauma or increased pressure to the affected area.
How quickly you recover from surgery depends on the type of surgery you had, your general health and various other factors. Fatigue tends to be a universal experience, and can last from days to months, depending on the type of surgery. Again, talk to your nurse or doctor about any side effects or concerns you may have.
In the video below, Physical therapist, Peg Maas explains what lymphedema is and how it can be treated.
Registered Nurse, Chris Yeckley demonstrates how to care for your J.P. drain after breast cancer surgery.
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Lymphedema is swelling of an arm or leg that sometimes occurs when lymph nodes are removed. Learn about lymphedema prevention & management.
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