by Dr. Brant McCartan
I just had foot surgery at Milwaukee Foot Specialists, what should I do?
Many patients are worried after they have had surgery. People wonder what is normal to have happen, and what changes they should be concerned about. Whether is was a bunion correction or fracture repair, how you take care of yourself after the surgery is almost as important as the procedure itself! Ideally your doctor has given you directions for post-op care that are easy to understand and follow, but here is a quick review of the most important points.
First, and most important: emergency situations that can occur after an operation. There are a few problematic outcomes that surgery puts a patient at risk for. Like any operation, foot surgery has a risk of infection. If you notice any nausea, vomiting, or fever after your operation, or if you notice foul smelling or discolored drainage coming from the site of the wound, you need to contact your doctor as soon as possible as these are signs of infection. Anesthesia sometimes has gastro-intestinal side effects; therefore having trouble going to the bathroom is another reason to contact your physician. Lastly, foot surgery has a small risk of DVT or “deep vein thrombosis”, which is a type of blood clot that is particularly troublesome. To look out for DVT’s, check to make sure either of your legs are not dramatically swelling. Some swelling around the operation site is normal, however if you notice other sites swelling dramatically, especially your legs, it is important to seek medical help.
Now that we have talked about emergencies, lets’ look at some other fun facts on post-op care;
-Not everyone’s post-op care is the same, even for similar surgeries. Listen to your doctor for your specific case! Even if you know of another person who had the same surgery, but had different instructions, you still need to follow your own rules.
-No weight bearing means no weight bearing! After your surgery, if your physician asks you to be non-weight bearing for a period of time, it is very important to follow these instructions. This may involve crutches, not putting weight on a certain part of your foot, or wearing a surgical boot or shoe. These rules are made so that your operation results can be as favorable as possible and you can heal as quickly as possible.
-Change your dressings as instructed. This will also allow you to check the operation site for any signs of infection. Even take a look at the old dressing to see if there is any drainage, take note of what the drainage looks and smells like. Contact us right away if you have any questions or concerns.
-Follow-up appointments are crucial! This is how your physician can see how your operation is healing as well as change your post-op care to better suit each patient’s needs. Don’t postpone or miss these important appointments.