Organ Transplant

Tips for a Healthy Post-Transplant Recovery

When preparing for a transplant, or any major surgery, you may have questions about the recovery process. Naturally, after an organ transplant or other surgical procedure, your body will need time to heal; in some cases, a full recovery can take a substantial amount of time. However, there are steps you can take in promoting a quicker, healthier recovery, as well as prevent post-surgical complications. Keep reading to find out more.

Plan Ahead

The first step to a speedy recovery is planning ahead. Prior to your procedure, talk to your doctor about what you can expect, then plan accordingly. For example, ask questions regarding how long you'll need to be off work, whether you'll recover at home or in a rehabilitation facility, and if you'll need 'round-the-clock care at home. Make a note of your daily medications, including nutritional supplements and over-the-counter drugs, and talk to your doctor about possible interactions or complications. Also, you may want to ask questions about any recovery aids you might need along the way, e.g., a wheelchair, a hospital bed, bandages, etc.

Another aspect of planning ahead for surgery is choosing the right physician and hospital. As for the proper facility, you can research factors like patient experience, as well as rates of infection, readmission, mortality, etc.  When it comes to picking a surgeon, experience is a must, as is an openness to discuss training and education, success rates, risks, recovery and other important issues.

Also, it's important to choose a physician with whom you feel comfortable and have a good rapport. For patients who don't speak English, choosing a bilingual physician is an absolute must. Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, a Los Angeles based surgeon, speaks five languages and might be a better fit for patients who don't speak English as a first language. Dr. Hrayr Shahinian has been practicing for more than two decades, and specializes in skull and craniofacial surgeries.

Staying Safe in the Hospital

During any hospital stay, and especially one that involves surgery, infection is a primary concern. Protect yourself from infection by making sure all hospital employees are following the proper procedures regarding hand washing, the administering of medications and the handling/removal of catheters, IV's, etc. If you notice something amiss, or something doesn't feel right, be sure to speak up. After all, your health and recovery depend on it.

Recovery Tips

Once at home, follow these steps in preventing ill effects and promoting a speedy recovery:

  • Follow doctor's orders. When it comes to recovery, your doctor knows best. Follow his or her advice, down to the letter, which includes taking all medications exactly as prescribed. Pain medications are especially important, as they can help with regaining mobility and range of motion.
  • Move, but carefully. Under supervision and as long as your doctor says it's okay, try to move around as much as possible. Movement is crucial to the recovery process, but be sure to take it slow and easy. And since some movements may inhibit recovery, be sure to ask your doctor what's safe for you.
  • Watch your diet. Certain foods can definitely enhance the healing process, while others can have a negative impact on body function and health in general. Avoid fatty, sugary, starchy and processed foods in favor of lean proteins, healthy fats, fresh produce and fiber-rich whole grains.
  • Hydrate. Staying sufficiently hydrated can provide several advantages to recovery. First of all, good hydration will promote healthy circulation, and will also help aid in digestion, bladder function and more.
  • Avoid stress. Since stress can slow the healing process, make an effort to stay calm and relaxed. Keep yourself occupied with books, puzzles, art projects or movies, listen to music, and try to keep stress to an absolute minimum.

[box type=”note”]Although transplants and other major surgeries require a lengthy recovery period, you can help speed up the process. With the tips provided here, you can take the steps necessary to a quick, healthy recovery.[/box]

• Meet the Author • Dr. Lawrence Kindo

I am a Medical Professional with a passion for writing, blogging, playing, computers, and of course patient care. My writing in this medical blog will reflect my passion, and you are welcome to be a part of this venture. This medical blog is a tribute to all the great medical pioneers, and to the ultimate source of wisdom, God.

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