Postoperative FAQs

I had surgery. When should I be concerned and go to the ER or call?

Fever: an ongoing or sporadic fever greater than 100.5 may be a concern.

Pain: We expect patients to have discomfort after surgery. We also expect patients to have times when they feel even sharp discomfort where they didn't feel it before, we call them "ouchies" this is normal while healing and they should resolve. What is not normal is to have a progressive pain that does not respond to pain medicine. There is no clear guideline, but patients generally can tell when something isn't right.

Bleeding: We expect patients who have any type of vaginal surgery to have some vaginal bleeding. This will typically evolve into a discharge and may evolve back into more a bright red scenario as the sutures dissolve. Even laparoscopy patients should expect some bleeding due to the clamp that was placed on the cervix. We do not expect patients to have active copious bright red bleeding. These patients should go to the emergency room.

Nausea and vomiting: Nausea and vomiting around the time of surgery is not uncommon. If you had surgery within the last 24 hours, this is likely a residual effect of the anesthetic. We recommend liquid diet as tolerated. Advance as you improve. If the nausea and vomiting does not improve or advances, go to the ER. Nausea and vomiting that occurs more than 24 hours after surgery should never be considered normal and if the problem is ongoing or worsening, we recommend you call or go to the emergency room.

Constipation: Postoperative constipation is one of the most difficult issues. The combination of narcotics, immobility, and dietary changes following surgery can lead to significant morbidity. We become more concerned when there is significant pain, nausea or vomiting, fever, or cessation of gas passage. These would all be indications to seek immediate medical help. To counter this difficult problem, we recommend Colace. If more immediate help is needed, Milk of Magnesia may be taken.