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For the first two weeks after surgery, you can expect to experience pain and may find activity difficult. During this time you should take your pain medication as ordered and walk as often as you can. As the time from your surgery elapses, you should expect to experience less pain and become more active.

Incision Care

The care for your incision is simple: shower with soap and water, keep your incision open to air, and do not apply lotions, powders or creams to your incision.

Activity

At first you may be short of breath after activity, but as your body adjusts your breathing capacity will improve. Feel free to walk about as you wish, even climb stairs. Walking and moving about in moderation is good for your circulation, your breathing and your muscle tone. Remain active as long as it doesn't hurt or tire you.

You can help loosen your shoulder by using your arm. Also, a good exercise is to stand next to a wall and "climb" up the wall with your hand.

You may resume sexual activity whenever you choose.

Do not:

  • Lift anything heavier than 5 pounds - ask for help

  • Drive until either your follow-up visit, you are no longer taking narcotics for pain, or your doctor tells you that you can drive

  • Return to work until your follow-up visit

Diet

Maintain the same diet as before the operation, but include enough roughage and liquid to prevent constipation.

Recovery

Recovery takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. During this time you should participate in daily exercise, practice deep breathing and coughing exercises and gradually increase the length of these activities as you progress post-operatively.

Follow-Up Appointment

Call your surgeon's office to schedule a follow-up appointment for 2-3 weeks from your date of discharge. At this time, your surgeon will evaluate your wound, assess how you are doing and let you know what the next steps are.