​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Back at Home

Exclamation mark  

Call your doctor as soon as possible or go to the nearest emergency department if you have any of the following:

  • Chills or fever greater than 38.5 °C
  • Changes to your wounds (cuts):
    • New bleeding
    • Increasing drainage (fluid) from the wound
    • Increasing redness, warmth and tenderness (pain)
    • ​Skin at your cut is separating
  • Increasing pain in your legs or feet
  • Sudden back or stomach pain
  • ​Feet or lower legs that are white or blue, or are cold to touch

You will continue to recover at home over the next few weeks to months. How long it takes to fully recover will depend on your age, health and the type of bypass you had. There are many things you can do to help your recovery.

How can I take care of myself when I go home?

Plan to have someone help you at home for at least 1 to 2 weeks after your operation. You may need help with laundry, cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping and drives to medical appointments.​


  • Eating well helps your body heal and recover. Eat a variety of foods from the four food groups. Choose foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. See Canada’s Food Guide for more information about healthy eating.

Bowel Movements

  • Some pain medications can cause constipation. To prevent constipation, drink lots of fluids and eat foods that are high in fibre, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals.
  • You should have one bowel movement at least every 3 days. Healthy bowel movements are soft and easy to pass.
  • If you have constipation, use a laxative such as Senokot®. If you need help with choosing a laxative, talk with your pharmacist.
  • ​Avoid excessive straining when you have a bowel movement.

Physi​cal Activity

  • Regular physical activity can help you recover and return to your usual activities as soon as possible. Being active also has long-lasting benefits for your health.
  • Start slowly. Take short walks around your house, with rest periods in between. Gradually walk a little farther and a little faster. You are likely to feel tired at first, but this will slowly get better.
  • Plan time to rest during the day.
  • As you get stronger, you can gradually take on your usual activities.

Heavy Lifting

  • Do not do strenuous activities or lift anything heavy (over 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms) for 4 to 6 weeks.​


  • Check your incisions each day. You may notice some bruising at first and they may be tender to touch..
  • Keep your incisions clean and dry. Do not put cream, ointment, powder or lotions on your incisions.
  • Some swelling in your operated leg is normal. This will gradually get better.


  • If you smoke, it’s important to stop smoking. Quitting smoking helps protect your graft and prevent further narrowing of your blood vessels.
  • If you need help to quit, talk with your doctor. Help is available with medications, and support (online and in person).
  • ​Visit Smoking Cessation at UHN​


  • You can have a shower 2 or 3 days after your operation. Gently wash your incision with soap and water. Rinse well and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • ​It is best to wait to have a bath when your incisions have healed. At your follow-up appointment, ask your surgeon when you can have a bath.


  • Do not drive for 4 to 6 weeks after your operation.​
​ ​
Who to call if you have general post-operative questions?

Call your surgeon’s office ​or Cindy Dickson, Vascular Clinic Nurse, at 416 340 3857​

Back to Top