At home after surgery

1. Pay attention to the wound

The wound is closed using metal staples, stitches or soluble stitches, and covered with either bandage or breathable tape.

You may notice bruising and swelling around the wound or in larger areas, but they will get better gradually. Swelling may occur for weeks, but some experience it even after a few months. You can try keeping your leg elevated and using cold compressions to ease the swelling.

It is normal for the wound to feel warm for a few months. A slight change in your temperature is a normal part of the healing process, so you don’t need to worry about that.

After the surgery, your haemoglobin levels are likely to drop, but they will restore gradually.

The need for pain medication varies greatly, but for most patients it is needed for the first few weeks or months.

Make sure the wound heals

  • Keep the wound dry for the first 24 hours after the surgery.
  • After this, you can go to shower as usual.
  • Pat the wound dry (you don’t have to change the bandage after taking a shower).
  • If the bandage is dirty or covered in discharge, change it.
  • When you no longer notice discharge, you can start using surgical tape to protect the wound.
  • You can go to sauna 24 hours after the removal of either stitches or staples, and you no longer notice any discharge.

Contact the hospital in case you notice:

  • bleeding you cannot stop
  • the wound opens
  • discharge that smells and comes through the bandage, or your temperature is over 38 °C

Contact a health centre in case you notice:

  • warmth, swelling or redness that is unlike the situation after your surgery
  • pain that gets worse or won’t go away

Removal of the staples or stitches

When you’re discharged from the hospital, you doctor will tell you when the staples or stitches can be removed. Book a removal appointment with a nurse at your own health centre. Soluble stitches don’t need to be removed.

2. Pain management after surgery

Take the pain medication prescribed to you according to the instructions. Exercise, cold compressions and elevating your leg may lessen the need for medication. Pain should not keep you from sleeping, moving or exercising. The need for medication varies from patient to patient, but you should be able to take less and less painkillers and eventually stop taking them as time goes by. If you have taken pain medication according to the instructions but the pain doesn’t stop, call the number at the back of this guidebook.

3. A call from a nurse

If you go home on the day of your surgery, you will receive a phone call from a nurse the next day. You will be called at 12:00–15:00, as it is important to check that your recovery process has started well.

4. Recovery process at home

You should be able to go back to your normal day-to-day life gradually. The length of the recovery process varies greatly, but it may take several months or even a year.

You can ease the process by

  • staying active
  • taking care of your daily routines, and
  • practicing the range of motion regularly

During the first few weeks, you should avoid activities that include heavy straining, but it is up to you to assess the straining level. The recovery process cannot move on without enough activity and rest, so try to find a balance between them. Remember to take breaks in between chores, and start with short walks several times a day. Take care of your daily routines little by little, and rest between them.

After your wound is closed, you can start low-intensity training in water or on an exercise bike. After six weeks from your surgery, you can start exercising muscle strength. Start with low-intensity straining, and raise the level of straining gradually. You can contact a physiotherapist at your health centre in case you need help with exercise-related matters.

You can start driving a car after you no longer need aids to move around or take strong painkillers (marked with red warning triangles). As a passenger, you can travel by car as soon as you’re discharged from the hospital.

There are no restrictions to sexual activity.