A ^Retired Plastic Surgeon's Notebook

Post-operative constipation. We need to talk about it.

Seattle plastic surgeon warns that post-operative constipation can ruin an otherwise smooth recovery.  A proactive approach can help.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon has tips on postoperative recovery.

Constipation can be the worst part of post-operative recovery.

Many post-operative factors can conspire to cause constipation.

First of all is the inactivity that usually follows surgery.  You take to bed or the couch or the Lazy Boy chair and your bowels can decide to take a little rest as well.  Then there are the narcotic pain medications that are often necessary to stay comfortable.  And then there are changes in diet that usually mean less fluids and fiber.  Before you know it, you are post op day 5 and miserable.

Here are some tips on avoiding this lousy problem.  First of all, if you are prone to irregularity, get on a stool softener (ask your pharmacist to recommend one) or some prune juice as soon as you get home from your surgery.  Then do your very, very best to be up and around as much as you can.  Walking is better than sitting and sitting is better than lying in bed. Try to jettison the post-operative narcotics as soon as possible.  Try alternating Tylenol or Motrin with your perscription pain meds as soon as your doctor gives you the okay.  (Make sure not to exceed the recommended dose.)  And stay hydrated.  It’s okay to skip a day or two of eating but make sure you get plenty of fluids.  And really, prune juice doesn’t taste that bad and it really does provide a lot of fiber.

If you, despite all of this, become really constipated, I have an entire page devoted to post-opearative constipation on my web site.  And be assured, once the blessed event does occur, you will feel sooooo much better.

Thanks for reading and, really, prune juice is pretty tasty!   Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


Category: Postoperative Care | Tags: , , ,

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