Postoperative / Post-surgical Care

Postoperative care—also called post-surgical care—is provided to patients in the operating room directly after surgery. Care continues into the postanesthesia care unit (a.k.a. the recovery room) and—should you be admitted following surgery—for the duration of your stay in the hospital. Postoperative care may also extend up to several days or even weeks post-surgery.

Post-surgery care plans involve assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and outcome evaluation. The extent and duration of care you receive depends on the type of surgery—outpatient or in-hospital—as well as your general health and type of surgery.

In the postanesthesia room, you can expect to have your blood pressure, breathing, and pulse monitored until you are stable. If you have outpatient surgery, you could be released just a few hours post-surgery, but only if you can breath, swallow, and urinate normally. However, if you are admitted to the hospital after your surgery, you will receive more extensive care, such as an IV, a breathing apparatus, and close monitoring of your vital signs.

When you are ready to leave the hospital, you will typically receive guidelines regarding pain medication, activity restrictions, proper nutrition, wound care, showering, and what symptoms require you to see a doctor or go to the hospital. Be sure to ask questions about the information you receive after surgery so you are well-informed of the side effects and complications you may experience.