Virginia Beach Surgery Logo

1020 First Colonial Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Mon-Fri, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Telephone (757) 481-2313

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Post Operative Instructions

The physicians and staff of Virginia Beach Surgery wish you well in your recovery. We hope the following information will be helpful to you as a general guide, however if you have any specific questions, please call our office for more assistance.

You must call the office if:

  • You have a temperature of greater than 101
  • You are experiencing increasing wound pain
  • You are experiencing increasing wound redness
  • You are experiencing increasing wound drainage
  • You are experiencing prolonged nausea and vomiting

For emergencies, call 911 directly.

Examples would include:

  • Significant chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Passing out
  • Sudden paralysis or loss of sensation
  • Seizures

When in doubt, call 911 first!


Keep your bandage in place for 24 hours, after the first 24 hours you may remove the bandage. You may see steri-strips (butterfly tapes) directly over the incision, please leave these in place. You can expect these steri-strips to loosen and separate after 2 weeks; when they become loose, you may remove them yourself. If your incision has any drainage please apply another dressing, on a daily basis, until your wound is dry.


After you have removed your bandage, you may take a quick shower the day following your surgery. Please avoid any hot tubs, prolonged baths, and swimming pools for two weeks. Do not swim in the Ocean or Bay until you have been approved to do so by your surgeon.


Generally, a light diet is recommended after surgery, you may return to your regular diet as your condition improves. Diabetics must be careful to balance their food intake with their diabetic medication.


It is common to feel fatigued after an operation, so do not be surprised if you cannot immediately return to your normal lifestyle. Gentle exercise, such as walking, is beneficial and encouraged in moderation. You may climb stairs at any time you feel comfortable enough to do so, but do not climb stairs if you are, in any way, unsteady on your feet. If your activities are causing you increasing pain, you must stop and rest. The following guidelines may be modified by your surgeon at time of discharge from the hospital, but in general:

If you have had laparoscopic or thorascopic surgery, please avoid any strenuous activities for two weeks; during this time do not lift or carry more than 20lbs.

If you have had major "open" surgery on the chest or abdomen, then please avoid any heavy lifting or straining (20lbs max) for 6 weeks.

If you have undergone limb surgery, you may walk on, or use, the extremity within your pain tolerance, or as directed by your surgeon at time of discharge.


You should never drive your car while taking narcotic pain medication! These medications seriously, and adversely, affect your judgment and response times, so please drive responsibly. You should also refrain from driving until you are not hampered by painful movements, in that way you can quickly respond to emergency driving situations. This will generally be two weeks for most major operations.


Take all your medications as directed at the time of your discharge from the hospital. Use your pain medication as needed to control your pain, and remember, do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking prescription strength pain medication. If you can take them, agents such as Motrin and Aleve can provide excellent pain relief, equal to narcotics, without the sedating side effects.

Requests for prescription refills should be called into the office between 9am and 4:30pm Mon-Fri. This is particularly important for pain medications, as after-hour and weekend requests for narcotics may not be granted. While we respect our genuine patients’ need for pain medicine, we unfortunately experience many illegal requests from drug users during those times frames, so please, call us during regular office hours. When calling for prescription refills please have available the name and telephone number of your pharmacist, this will allow us to give you quicker service.

In most cases, call your family doctor for questions regarding your routine and usual, medications.


Please call the office at (757)481-2313 the day after your discharge to arrange for your postoperative visit. Please identify yourself as a post-op patient so that we may accommodate you on our schedules. If you require any tests prior to your visit, please notify our staff when you call, so they can make the appropriate arrangements.


If you have any drains or tubes when you leave the hospital, please follow the directions you were given before discharge. In general, on a daily basis, write down the amount of drainage present over the previous 24-hour period. Then bring this record for your surgeon to review at your next office visit.

Visiting Nurse

Occasionally you may require a nurse to visit you at home. This may be to administer medication, or assist you in wound care or to monitor your condition. This is usually arranged prior to your discharge, and you should be contacted by the nursing service within 24 hours of arriving home. If you have not been contacted by the nurse within 48 hours, please call our office for further assistance.

For Women

You may experience some menstrual irregularity after surgery, usually early onset of your period. This is normal and comes from the stressful effects of the operation. You should return to your normal cycle after completing your first postoperative period.

If you are taking birth control pills, you should continue to take them on your regular schedule.

If you have had breast surgery, you may be more comfortable wearing a bra than by going without one, but do what seems to be most comfortable for you personally. You may wish to consider wearing a sports bra. In addition, it is very common to develop extensive bruising and a lump under the incision after a breast biopsy. This is not unusual and will resolve by itself over the next few weeks.

Mastectomy patients should refrain from wearing a bra until you have seen your surgeon in the office. While your drains are still in place, please do not use your arm excessively; this helps to minimize the fluid output through the drain. After your drains have been removed, we will start your arm exercises to bring your arm motion back to normal. The members of Reach for Recovery are very helpful in this situation and have a wealth of information regarding all aspects of post surgical care. In addition, they can provide extra support and guidance to you during this difficult time. If you were not contacted by that group while you were in the hospital, and would like their assistance, please call our office so we can help to make those arrangements

Hernia Patients

As you recuperate from your surgery, please carefully follow your surgeons’ instructions regarding activity. This is important to allow good healing and to prevent a recurrence of the hernia.

For those patients with groin (inguinal) hernias we want you to know that bruising and swelling is common near your incision, and for our male patients this may markedly extend into the penis and scrotum. Please do not be alarmed by these developments, as they will resolve with time leaving no residuals.

Varicose Vein Patients

On the day after your surgery, you may remove your bandages (leave the small steri-strips or butterfly tapes in place) and take a quick shower if you so desire. After showering, you will probably be more comfortable if you rewrap your legs with ace bandages. Remember to start your wrap at the toes and work back up to the thighs keeping steady, even pressure on the bandage. You should continue to use the ace wrap for support, as long as it provides comfort to you, after that point you no longer need to wear them. You do not need to wear the ace wrap to bed. You will also find that elevating your legs will be most comfortable for you. Walking and light exercises are not harmful, but heavy exercising may cause more bruising to develop.

As you recuperate, you can expect mild swelling and extensive bruising to develop in the legs. This is normal, and wearing the ace wrap as well as elevation of the legs are helpful in this regard. You may also experience a pulling sensation or tightness and possibly feel a thickened cord along the course of the varicose veins that were removed. This again is not unusual and will resolve as your healing continues.




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