General Postoperative Instructions

See Surgery Guidance  for much more information.


  • RELAX and take it very easy.
    • Seriously, take it easy. You just had surgery. Give yourself permission to rest and recover.
    • Do not do anything strenuous or important for a couple of days after surgery.
    • Expect to feel more tired than usual.
    • Expect to need help doing things you usually can do on your own.
    • Don't worry; you will start feeling much better after a few days.
  • Your balance may be significantly impacted after surgery due to medication, pain, and wearing a sling. Be very aware and very careful to protect yourself from injury and falls.
  • Do not drive, operate machinery, consume alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers, make important personal or business decisions, or sign legal documents for 24 hours or as long as you are taking narcotic pain medication.
  • Do not plan on going to work or school on the day of surgery or the day after surgery. Go home and rest.
  • Begin with clear fluids and light foods, and then progress your diet as tolerated. It is usually best to avoid heavy, greasy, or spicy food on the day of surgery.
  • Narcotics cause constipation, so increase the amount of fluid (especially water), fiber, and fruit in your diet. You can also drink warm prune juice. If you are constipated after surgery, over-the-counter liquid magnesium citrate, taken as directed, can be used.
  • It is essential to eat some food every time you take narcotic pain medications (even in the middle of the night). If you don’t, you are more likely to have nausea. Usually, a few crackers, applesauce, or a banana will suffice.
  • Some anesthetics can cause urinary retention. If you are having trouble emptying your bladder or have not urinated for 8 hours after the anesthetic, please call Dr. Jurek at (206) 386-2600.
  • You can reach Dr. Jurek any time of the day or night by calling (206) 386-2600. After hours, the answering service will page Dr. Jurek.


  • Oral narcotic pain medication has been prescribed for the first few days. Use only as directed. Do not combine these medications with alcoholic beverages. We recommend that you take your pain medications routinely for the first 24-72 hours. Mild dizziness is not unusual with these medications. Be careful when walking and climbing stairs. Do not drive while taking narcotic pain medications. Narcotic pain medications can be dangerously addictive; try to reduce your intake and wean off of them as soon as reasonably possible. We recommend stopping narcotics medications within 2 weeks after surgery. Read the Narcotic Fact Sheet for more information.
  • It is best to take the pain medication at the earliest sign of pain instead of waiting for it to worsen. The medication works best if swelling is kept to a minimum; elevation of the operative extremity and/or icing usually help diminish swelling.
  • If you are running low on your medication, please contact Dr. Jurek Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at (206) 386-2600 and ask for Dr. Jurek's assistant, Meggie. If you wait until the end of the day, you may not get a refill that day. Also, please do not wait until Friday afternoon to call, as we may not be able to fill your prescription until Monday. Per the OPA Pain Medication Policy, the on-call physician WILL NOT CALL IN MEDICATION REFILLS over the weekend. By law, all narcotic prescriptions must be hand-signed by your doctor and cannot be called into a pharmacy. You will need to have someone pick up a written prescription. (See OPA Pain Medication Policy)
  • You will be prescribed Zofran for postoperative nausea. If you feel nauseated, place the tablet on your tongue and allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing.
  • You may be prescribed Aspirin as a postoperative blood-thinner. If you usually take Aspirin daily, you may resume taking it the day after surgery.


  • Excessive bleeding or drainage, especially bright red bleeding that soaks all the way through your dressing (some bleeding or pinkish drainage is common)
  • Excessive swelling not relieved by rest, elevation, and ice
  • Extreme or unbearable pain (unable to sleep, eat, or hold a conversation)
  • Itching accompanied by hives, welts, or a rash, which may be a sign of an allergic reaction
  • Flu-like symptoms (nausea, general body aches, chills, or a temperature over 101.5 degrees) for longer than 24 hours. These symptoms may be a sign of infection.
  • If you experience shortness of breath or chest pain, CALL 911.

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601 Broadway 7th Floor 
Seattle, WA 98122
3400 California Ave SW Ste. 210 
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 386-2600

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601 Broadway 
7th Floor 
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 386-2600

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