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Bouncing Back After Surgery — A Surgeon’s Recovery Guide

By Dr. Pier Boutin, MD

Recovering from surgery is part 3 of our special 3-part series on how women can prepare for surgery to minimize stress and optimize their recovery.

In part 1 of our series, you took some “big picture” steps to start preparing. In part 2, you tied up loose ends in the final days and minutes before your procedure. Now in part 3, you’ll get important tips on how to bounce back and speed your recovery time after your surgery.

A woman recovering from surgery

Note: The recommendations on this list may be used as a guideline. Patients should show and discuss the list with their surgeon, as she or he may want to make adjustments.

Recovering from surgery — 7 tips to bounce back fast

  1. Make sure to move and start walking as soon as possible after surgery to avoid blood clots.
  2. Don’t stay in the hospital any longer than necessary.
  3. Discontinue narcotics early. Some pain is OKAY when recovering from surgery! Patients who stop narcotics earlier do better.
  4. Avoid alcohol completely for five days after your procedures. Do not drink alcohol while taking narcotics.
  5. Use a stool softener, such as prunes or Miralax to avoid constipation.
  6. Avoid any dental work for six weeks after surgery.
  7. Give your body additional nourishment to help it recover. The following supplements can be taken for 4-6 weeks after surgery. Use high-quality supplements:
    • Multivitamin
    • Magnesium Taurate or Elemental: 200-400 mg at bedtime.
    • Probiotics that include Lactobacillus Plantarum and Bifidobacterium pseudolongumin: Surgical patients often receive antibiotics. It’s important to replace the beneficial bacteria.
    • Vitamin A: 25,000 IU/day. 
    • Vitamin C: 500 mg twice a day 
    • Vitamin D: 2000-5000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day 
    • Proteolytic Enzymes: Bromelain 250 mg, 2-3 times per day, or Pancreatin capsules, 1400 mg, 2-3 capsules, 3 times daily.
    • L-glutamine: Studies have shown that this amino acid stimulates the immune system, cuts infections, and promotes cell growth and organ repair. It also counteracts “leaky gut syndrome”, which can occur during surgical stress. Use supplement as directed.
    • Zinc: Take 30-50 mg of zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate daily. 

Recovering from surgery also means taking more time to relax so your body can use that downtime to heal. Take an extra nap, spend the afternoon reading a good book or allow yourself a mini Netflix binge. Your body will thank you.

Read more

Part 1: Your surgery is on the calendar. Now what?

Part 2: 18 steps to no-stress surgery prep

Last Updated: November 9, 2022
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