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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), such as 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.

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

You will continue to recover at home over the next few weeks to months. 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, grocery shopping and drives to medical appointments.​

How long it takes to fully recover will depend on your age, health and the type of operation you had. There are many things you can do to help your recovery. ​


  • 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. For good blood flow, keep your feet up when you are sitting and don’t cross your legs.​


  • 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.
  • 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.

Physi​cal Activity

  • Regular physical activity can help you recover and return to your usual activities as soon as possible. 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 lift anything heavy (over 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms) for 4 to 6 weeks.


  • You will not be able to drive for 4 to 6 weeks after your operation.
  • ​You should only start driving again when you are safe to suddenly apply the brakes in an emergency situation.
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  • If you smoke, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to stop smoking. Visit Smoking Cessation at UHN for helpful information and resources. ​Visit Smoking Cessation at UHN​
  • Quitting smoking helps protect your graft and prevent further narrowing of your blood vessels.
Who to call if you have general post-operative questions?

If you have questions or need to book your follow up appointment, please call your​ surgeon’s office ​or Cindy Dickson, Vascular Clinic Nurse, at 416 340 3857​.

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