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Recovering from Surgery

At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we’re here to support you every step of the way as you recover from surgery. Taking care of yourself before and after surgery is the best way to regain your strength after your surgery. 

Your guide to surgery

We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide for you, A Patient’s Guide to Surgery, which includes in-depth information about your recovery. While each patient’s recovery experience will be different, here’s a general idea of what you can expect.

Recovery unit (post-anesthesia care unit)

The recovery unit is where you go immediately following your procedure. Our nursing staff cares for and closely monitors you to make sure you’re well. Be sure to tell your nurse how you’re feeling and if you’re experiencing any pain.

Hospital admission

If you’re spending the night in the hospital, we’ll transfer you from the post-anesthesia care unit, or PACU, to your hospital room. During the night, we’ll carefully and regularly assess your condition to make sure you’re recovering as expected.

It’s normal to have some pain after surgery. We’ll help you manage your pain with prescription medications.

Eating and drinking

At first, you may receive fluids and nutrients through IV therapy. You’ll gradually resume your regular diet as your recovery progresses.

Resuming activities

Being active helps speed the healing process and prevents complications. We help you get out of bed on the same day of your surgery, unless your provider instructs otherwise. As you progress, we’ll show you how to increase your level of activity safely. You may begin a program of physical and/or occupational therapy or other rehabilitative programs.

Infection prevention

Our providers, nurses, and other staff take important steps to keep you safe and healthy during your stay by following strict hand cleansing procedures upon entering your room.

It’s good practice to ask your visitors to wash their hands each time they come into your room during their visit.

Going home

Before you go home, we’ll review your medication and recovery instructions with you. You’ll have an opportunity to ask any questions you have. You should arrange for someone to drive you home, as it’s not safe to drive yourself.

Follow-up care

If your incision has a dressing, keep it clean and dry, and change it as directed. If you received staples or sutures (stitches), we’ll remove them at a follow-up appointment. Follow your provider's instructions regarding appointments during your recovery.

When to call your provider

Call your provider immediately if you develop a high fever, if your incision is red or swollen, or if you experience severe pain or other unusual sensations.

Convenient hospital locations

Our hospitals and surgery centers are conveniently located throughout Washington state.