Cranial Surgery – Home Recovery

Physical Activity
Walking is the best exercise. Attempt to take at least two walks per day at a measured distance. Gradually increase your distance to where you can walk for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Climbing stairs is possible, at first with assistance, and once you feel confident you may do this using a hand railing. You should avoid any activity that causes straining. If physical therapy is ordered for after discharge, participate as tolerated.  If you are discharged with support stockings, remove them when out of bed.

Sleep
During the recovery period it is helpful to take short rests throughout the day. Keep your head elevated as much as possible.  Avoid taking sleeping medicine if possible.  When waking, up a stiff back is not uncommon and may be relieved with a short walk or a warm shower.

Working
Your doctor will determine when you can return to work and with what restrictions. Restrictions are individualized depending on the type of work you do, and the amount of lifting, bending and twisting that is required at your work. Please discuss this with your doctor at your first post-operative meeting.

Driving
You may drive a car only when the doctor gives approval. Usually you will be given general guidelines on the first postoperative visit. Never drive after pain medications. You may ride as a passenger at any time and may also ride in a plane as necessary.

Medications
Prescription pain medications will be given for discomfort which is not reviewed by over-the-counter medications. We expect the use of pain medicines to be very mild and usually dispense enough pain medicines to last the patient throughout the entire recovery period. With any operation there is a certain amount of discomfort and pain in the lower back and this can be expected until inflammation and edema have stopped. Heat, moderate exercise and rest will also help to improve the recovery and decrease the pain.  Other medications including anti-seizure medication, steroids and gastrointestinal medication should be continued as directed if prescribed.

Refills
Refills of narcotics are generally done only during postoperative visits and will generally not be prescribed over the telephone unless there are extenuating circumstances. Narcotics will not be filled on weekends or after hours for whatever reason.

Hygiene
You may take a shower once the original dressing is removed from the wound. This is usually done in the hospital.  Do not let the shower hit directly on the wound and do not submerse the wound under water such as in a hot tub or bath tub for at least three weeks. If the wound is wet, merely pat it dry and do not rub it dry. If steri-strips or paper strips are present, they should be removed from the wound seven days after surgery. Staples or sutures will be removed in the office, please call to make a suture removal appointment.

Wound Problems
it is important to look at your wound on a daily basis and inspect the area. It is important to look for signs of redness, swelling, drainage or pus. Temperature greater than 101.5, difficulty with swelling or pain, which is equal to or greater than your preoperative state, should be reported immediately to the office.

Please notify our office at 251-450-3700. If you feel something is wrong or have a concern call our office at 251-450-3700 or 800-628-5956.

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