Sometimes the focus is all on the “before” and especially on the “during”, but also the postoperative, after an operation, is of crucial importance for a real recovery that solves the reasons that brought the patient into the operating room. But what are the most common complications and concerns of patients after surgery? We talked about it with Dr. Stefano Bona, head of general and day surgery at Humanitas.
The most common symptoms after an operation
Postoperative recovery is the most difficult part of the whole process in many ways. Pain, psychophysical stress and related post-operative disability must be patiently managed, and it is important to take care of oneself. Then there is the fear of postoperative complications that may arise.
Fatigue, a drop in emotional tension (if you have faced everything with particular apprehension) and pain in the vicinity of the areas on which the surgeon has intervened are rather common symptoms in the course of surgery of almost all patients.
However, there are some symptoms that, if they appear sharply and suddenly, it is better not to underestimate not to start complications. Respiratory difficulties, significant bleeding or pain that suddenly increases and cannot be controlled should be addressed immediately by contacting the specialist.
The less common symptoms and not to be underestimated
An infection of the urinary tract, which can make it difficult to urinate, is quite common after surgical intervention, but should not be ignored precisely because it could get worse. It is therefore necessary for the doctors (and not the web) to judge whether these are normal episodes without danger or whether the situation should not be underestimated. The difficulty in urinating can be the result of anesthesia, the use of a urinary catheter, or a combination of both. Infections, on the other hand, are more common after having had a catheter and are often accompanied by a burning sensation.
What does a normal infected incision look like? This may be difficult to understand, as both wounds may look similar due to irritation. The doctor is the only one that can say that the incision is healing as it should. However, if you have symptoms such as redness, pain, swelling, purulent material leaking at the incision point and fever together, it is very likely that the infection is in progress. In any case, an infection is never “normal” after surgery and immediate treatment can prevent serious complications.
Many patients reported a sore throat after surgery, but do not understand what caused it, especially if the treated area has nothing to do with the throat. There is instead a common and trivial cause: the respiratory tube that was placed during the surgery when performed under general anesthesia.
Pain is a commonly feared consequence of surgery. The good news is that with today’s anaesthesia techniques and the pain medications prescribed by the surgeon, you can minimize the post-surgical pain and overcome this difficult time.
Proper pain management will also help you heal faster and feel psychologically “stronger”.
Depression after surgery
Unfortunately, depression is not uncommon among patients who have undergone major surgery. This symptom, which is sometimes caused by the end of a prolonged anxious state due to the surgery itself or concerns about it, may be aggravated by post-surgical pain or by the limitation of post-operative activity. If the symptoms are very strong, do not underestimate your feelings and seek professional help.