Here are some of the most common questions that our customers have asked us about the post-operative, recovery and rehabilitation stages after heart surgery.
Q. Will I experience a lot of pain when I wake up?
A. There may be some pain but you should be properly medicated and feeling comfortable when you first wake up.
Q. How can I control the pain?
A. Always follow your doctor’s guidelines. You may be prescribed a prescription or an over-the-counter medication to help ease the pain. You will also want to wear a support garment right after surgery such as our Cardiothoracic Harness or Bra to help with pain when walking, coughing and general movement.
View our Cardiothoracic Harness for Men
View our Cardiothoracic Bra for Women
Q. I pick my grandchildren up from school. How long before I can drive?
A. Ask your doctor because recovery varies from person to person, but typically patients can resume driving activities six to eight weeks after surgery
Q. Why is there movement pain?
A. Usually it is from pulling against the wire sutures—not the incision—that causes movement pain.
Q. What can I do to reduce this wire suture pain?
A. Wear a Post Surgical Support Bra or Harness to help isolate the shoulder muscle movements.
Q. What else can I do?
A. Reduce your shoulder movements by wearing a button down shirt. Don’t wear T-shirts. Use both hands in opening car doors and sliders.
Q. What can I do to recover faster?
A. Always follow your doctor’s orders.
- If you are out of shape, ask your doctor about cardiac rehab.
- Follow the schedule you were given to use the breathing exerciser, and feed your body with lots of oxygen!
- Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything you want to… take your recovery one day at a time and allow yourself to heal with a positive attitude.
Care of the Incision After Heart Surgery
- Follow your doctor’s orders on keeping the incision clean and dry with soap and water.
- Call the doctor if you experience drainage or oozing from incision, opening of the incision line, redness or warmth around incision, fever, or if your sternum (breast bone) feels like it shifts/pops/cracks with movement.
Activity After Heart Surgery
Talk to your doctor before starting any activity as every person recovers at his or her own pace.
Ask him or her if the following guidelines apply to you:
- Gradually increase your activity level each day.
- You should not stand in one place longer than 15 minutes
- Try not to lift objects weighing more than 10 pounds.
- Heavy objects should not be pushed or pulled.
- Climbing stairs is typically allowed.
- Walk daily to get your blood flowing and speed healing
- You can typically begin to drive 6 to 8 weeks after surgery (possibly shorter if surgery was minimally invasive).
- Stat eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Cut down on processed and fatty foods. Enjoy feeling lighter and healthier!