Before coming home from hospital there are things you should know.

These include:

  • how to care for your incision/s
  • your level of activity and lifting restrictions
  • driving (don’t forget to also check with your car insurance company in case they have any restrictions following an operation)
  • symptoms for which you should seek further medical attention
  • any changes to your regular medication
  • what kind of exercise you can do
  • how to manage pain
  • when and how to have your stitches out if they’re not self-dissolving.

Caring for your incision

It’s important to keep your bandage over your incision clean and dry with the dressing intact for about 1 week. There may be some discharge from the incision but if the discharge increases or smells unpleasant, contact your surgeon. Discuss wound care with your surgeon as their advice may differ.


You may find it more comfortable sleeping on a firm mattress temporarily. You can achieve this by placing a thin wooden board(s) under your mattress.


You may experience constipation after surgery. This can be due to the side effects of opioid painkillers, a change in your usual diet, or a reduction in your usual activity levels.

Returning to work

Follow your surgeon’s advice about how much time to take off work, particularly if your job is physically demanding.

Follow up

You’ll need to make a follow-up appointment to see your surgeon 2 to 6 weeks after your procedure to assess your recovery and address any questions you may have.

Watching out for problems

You should call your surgeon if you experience:

  • discharge or excessive bleeding from your incision
  • redness or changes in the skin around your incision
  • pain and swelling in your calf
  • unexplained or sudden shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • fever
  • severe headache, nausea or vomiting
  • new pain, weakness, numbness or tingling
  • significantly worsening pain
  • any problems that are worrying you.

Rehab for your spine

The importance of a personalised rehab program.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.