Most patients understandably focus on the results of the procedure. This is fine of course, but it is worth paying some attention to the post treatment or post-operative period and planning.
Planning ahead will help ensure a smooth recovery, armed with the knowledge and information that you need.
Here are some helpful hints and tips to guide you through the recovery process.
- Follow your post procedure instructions
This perhaps goes without saying, but it’s vital that you stick to the follow up advice given by your Urologist. Although the advice is universal, pay attention to any specific instructions that the Specialist may have given you. If you are unsure about any aspects of your recovery our patient care team are on hand to guide you through the process, so please be sure to contact us if there is anything that you don’t understand. In the first few weeks it may mean that you cannot do activities that you are used to daily. These may include going to the Gym or playing sports, or even engaging in sexual activities. These can be inconvenient and perhaps frustrating, but it’s vital that you don’t do too much too soon and compromise the results of your procedure.
- Don’t miss appointments!
After any urological procedure it’s important that the Specialist has time with you to monitor your progress. You will find that during normal recovery the gap between follow up appointments will increase. At first, you may have regular follow up appointments with the Urologist to monitor your early recovery process. Do not miss any of these appointments. Make sure that you find the time when requested to do so. Any early setbacks or problems are best addressed as soon as possible so that action can be taken. Many follow up appointments can be done on zoom video, but others may require you to attend the clinic if closer inspection of wounds etc is required.
It is very important to minimise risk of infection of any procedure, especially surgical procedures. If you notice any signs of infection, then it is really important to notify our patient care team right away. This is another good reason to ensure that you attend the early follow up appointments when asked to do so, as the Specialist may be able to help identify early signs of infection that can be treated. Make sure that if you are prescribed antibiotics after your procedure that you take the entire course. Infection is not common after procedures, but they can happen and when they do, they can be successfully treated. If you feel that you may have an infection, call us, email us, but do get in touch.
- Drink and eat healthily
If your procedure has involved general anaesthesia, then make sure you drink plenty of water in the days that follow. Get plenty of rest but don’t retire to your bed. Start moving around as quickly as possible. Remember that heavy lifting and sporting activities may not be allowed for six weeks. Stick to a good balanced diet. Avoid alcohol whilst taking antibiotics and if you smoke try to quit six weeks before and six weeks after the procedure. Smoking delays wound healing and increases your risk of an infection.
- Take your pain relief medication
Your level of discomfort will depend on the type of procedure that you have had. If your procedure was a minor outpatient procedure involving injections, then the discomfort may not be so much. After surgical procedures it is normal to experience some post-operative pain and discomfort. In such cases you are normally prescribed medication to help with pain. Pain thresholds vary enormously from patient to patient, we cannot tell in advance how you will respond to pain. If you feel that your pain relief is not being successfully controlled with medication, then you should inform the patient care team who will take advice from your Urologist.
- Emotional recovery
Most of the focus on recovery is about the physical symptoms and patients ask about these of course. However, we always draw attention to the emotional aspects of recovering from a surgical or non-surgical procedure. For example, in the first weeks after surgery you may be in some discomfort which can lower your mood or make you irritable. You may not sleep as well as normal, for example if you have bruising or swelling to the treated site. These symptoms will all pass during the recovery period, but it is worth planning some light activities for the early recovery period so that your mind can be occupied on some light enjoyable activities at first.
The results of your treatment or surgery may not be evident in the first days or weeks after the procedure. This may cause some anxiety as you wait for things to settle down. Understanding that it takes time for the final results to appear should help you get through the initial recovery period and attendance at the post treatment follow ups can really help here as your Urologist can guide you and explain how your recovery is progressing from week to week. How things look in the first days or even weeks after surgery, may not be how things will eventually look when everything has settled down. Be sure that you clearly understand the recovery process and ask your Urologist to explain anything that you don’t understand about the process.
It may help to break the recovery period down into weeks or even days, so that you know what to expect at each stage of the recovery process. Taking one step at a time can really help, and don’t expect too much of yourself at first.
If you take medication for depression or anxiety for example, then it may be worth a discussion with your GP and/or your Urologist to see how your recovery period can be individually managed as best as possible.
If you experience any post operative or post treatment complications these can delay your progress. They can also create some anxiety and uncertainty. Rest assured that your Urologist will support you and guide you through any complications that may occur during your recovery. Most patients do not experience any complications, but it is important to know that our support team are there for you in the event that you do. Again, if you experience any complications, it is vital that you follow the advice and guidance of the medical team to help ensure a swift recovery. In such situations you must not miss appointments as your health and recovery is our paramount concern and must also be yours.
Talking helps a lot for most patients. If you are unsure about anything, remember that our support team are there for you. Many times, just a chat with our patient care team can be so reassuring, particularly if you have not told anyone about having the procedure. It is important to us that you don’t feel that you are alone.
The vast majority of patients who have genital surgery and non-surgical procedures recover on time and without any complications. By paying attention to the post treatment/surgery instructions and keeping in touch with the medical team, you will ensure a smooth event free recovery. If you have anything that concerns you, physically or emotionally, talk to the Specialist for advice without any delay.