ALERT CONTENT PLACEHOLDER

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Back at Home

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Call 911 or go to the hospital emergency department if you have an emergency such as:​

  • Numbness in your arms, feet or legs, or they become cold or painful, or you have trouble moving them.
  • New pain in your groin, back, chest or abdomen.
  • Severe pain or swelling at your incisions site.
  • New shortness of breath.
  • ​Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowels.
  • ​You are no longer able to pass urine.

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. Your total recovery time will depend on your age and overall health. It may take up to 6 to 12 weeks for a full recovery. 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. There are many things you can do to help your recovery.​​

Eating/Eliminating​

  • 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.

Activity and Exercise ​​​

  • 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 Objects/Lifting/Exerting

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

Medications

  • ​Some of your medications may have changed. Follow the schedule indicated in your discharge summary. Please ensure that your family doctor reviews the changes and you have an appropriate follow-up.

​Incisions

  • You will have staples (metal clips) on your abdominal incision. You may have stitches or staples in your groin incisions.
  • Keep your incisions dry and open to air unless they are leaking.
  • Check your incisions each day for any new changes. It is normal for your incisions to be slightly red, swollen or painful for 2 to 3 weeks after your operation. If you experience new pain, redness, lumps or more leaking than usual, see your family doctor.
  • Do not scrub or use any creams, powders or ointments on your incisions.

​Returning to Work

  • Depending on the job you do, you may be able to return to work 6 weeks after the operation.
  • ​If your job involves physical labour, you may need to wait at least 8 weeks before returning to work. This will depend on your overall health and your recovery. Please talk with your surgeon.

Smoking

  • 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​.

Showering

  • When showering, let the soap and water run over your incisions. Pat your incisions dry with a clean towel. If there is any leaking coming from your incisions, cover the incisions with clean gauze right after you shower.
  • ​​Do not swim, use hot tubs or take baths until your incisions are totally healed and no longer leaking.

Driving

  • ​You will not be able to drive for 4 to 6 weeks after your operation.
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Who do I call if I experience complications? ​

Call 911 or go to the hospital emergency department​ if you have an emergency such as:​

​​​​​
  • Numbness in your arms, feet or legs, or they become cold or painful, or you have trouble moving them.
  • New pain in your groin, back, chest or abdomen.
  • Severe pain or swelling at your incisions site.
  • New shortness of breath.
  • Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowels.
  • You are no longer able to pass urine.

Visit your family doctor or go to a walk-in clinic as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Leg swelling that doesn’t go away.
  • New mild pain, redness or swelling around your incisions.
  • Drainage or leaking from your incision that is increasing or smells bad.
  • New lump around your incision site.
  • Diarrhea (loose stools).
  • Not passing any gas or feeling constipated for more than a few days.
  • Vomiting (throwing up) and not able to eat or drink.
  • ​​Chills and a fever above 38.5 °C (100.4 °F) for at least 24 hours.

Who do I call with general post-operative questions?

If you have health related concerns while you are recovering at home, please contact your surgeon's office or:

Vascular Clinic Nurse: Cindy Dickson
Phone: 416 340 3857

Vascular Nurse Coordinator: Ewa Binkowski
Phone: 416 340 4800 ext. 5202​​