Knowing effective post-surgery wound care is essential for patients who have undergone surgery - and their caretakers! The road of post surgery recovery isn't always a smooth one, but with the proper wound care solutions, you'll be back on your feet in record time.
It's important to remember that everyone's body is different, and we heal at different rates.
It's vital to listen to what your body is telling you, as well as the advice from your doctor. But, while every surgical recovery case is unique, there are certain methods and approaches that everyone can use to ensure a proper recovery.
The Post-Surgery Wound Healing Stages
Before we jump straight into solutions, we should talk about the three wound healing stages. These will depend on your health and the type of surgery you had.
The three stages of wound healing are the inflammatory phase, the proliferative phase, and the remodeling phase.
The inflammatory phase of wound healing is the most recognizable one. Inflammation is our body's natural response to injury and will occur almost immediately. During this period, there is increased blood flow to the surgical area.
By increasing the blood flow, your body can naturally increase certain enzymes, digest bacteria, and remove dead tissue. Although inflammation is a positive body response, it can result in pain, heat, and decreased function.
Once your wound begins to rebuild itself, your body has moved into the proliferative phase of healing. In order to do this, your body needs to restore the tissues around the wound. These tissues are composed of collagen and extracellular matrix.
Over time, the wound begins to fill in around the edges until the epithelial cells fully resurface and connect. Epithelial cells are the cells on the surface of your body. They can be found in your skin, blood vessels, organs, and urinary tract.
The remodeling phase of wound healing begins when the wound is fully closed. While collagen is a part of the proliferative phase, it becomes exceedingly important in the remodeling phase.
The wound area regains strength as collagen fibers within the wound reconnect and reorganize. With the primary healing process coming to an end, your body no longer needs to supply as much blood to the wound area.
Your blood supply can then be restored to the original and natural state.
So, now that you’ve had a quick rundown of the recovery phases themselves, here are five things you can do to help your body at each stage of your post-surgery recovery.
Solution 1: Keep Your Wound Clean
The skin around your wound will be very sensitive while it is healing.
Cleaning your wound should be a careful process to ensure your own comfort and to avoid trauma to the wound itself. The most common post-surgery complications involving infection can often be avoided by cleaning a wound and properly caring for it.
Your doctor should have provided specific instructions on how to clean your post-surgery wound. However, these general guidelines should allow you to clean your wound effectively and efficiently.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of post-surgery wound cleaning:
Solution 2: Stay Active Post-Surgery
But don’t overdo it!
You will need to find a delicate balance with your activity during post-surgery recovery. You need to be cautious because if you move around too much or do too much exercise, your wound could reopen. But you also want to keep your body moving and that blood circulating.
Finding a routine that allows you to continue to be active can help promote healing.
Additionally, it could help you maintain physical and mental strength. After all, sitting around all day can take a toll on your mental health as well.
As with wound cleaning, it is vital to come up with an activity or exercise routine with your physician. You may be able to adjust movements on a personal level, but seeking a professional opinion on physical activity will ensure that you do not worsen the injury or cause complications.
Staying sedentary is very tempting, especially if you are in pain. We get it - it can be easy to want to lay in bed for a few weeks as you heal.
But this can damage your overall health.
Let’s take a knee surgery as an example. It can be painful to use your knee or move around post-surgery. However, if you are not using your legs, the muscles and supporting tissue around your wound could be weakening and deteriorating.
But, it doesn’t end there. Because once you restart your fitness routine (or a version of it), the risk of re-injury increases. Your body is weaker as a whole, and your leg is unable to adequately protect the knee. That’s why gradual, low-impact, and well-planned exercises are so important.
Work with your doctor and physical therapist to develop a balanced and personalized exercise routine that promotes healing during your entire recovery process.
Solution 3: Promote Wound Healing Through Diet
Along with rest and recovery, your post-surgery diet is of the most influential parts of your natural healing process.
What we eat and drink is directly correlated to the nutrients and fuel our body uses in post-surgery recovery. As a wound care solution, you should put extra focus on constructing a sustainable and beneficial diet during and after the healing process.
Foods that Boost Immune System Function
Of the foods that you can include in your post-surgery diet, foods that boost your immune system should be at the top of the list.
For proper wound care, you need to avoid infections and other forms of illness that could compromise your immune system. Food is a great way to give your body the tools it needs to fight off things like a cold or the flu.
Your body is under enough stress as it repairs itself post-surgery, so adding in an extra stressor like the flu can severely impact your healing process.
Some foods that may naturally boost immunity include:
- Citrus Fruits
- Bell Peppers
- Leafy Greens (especially spinach)
- Green Tea
- Tropical Fruits (papaya, kiwi, mango, etc.)
Most of the foods on this list are there because of their high concentration of vitamin C. However, many of these whole foods are packed full of other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help us fight off infection.
Some of the foods listed, like turmeric and papaya, have also been shown to potentially decrease inflammation, which may even be a natural way to ease some pain after surgery.
Foods to Avoid
While there are many foods that promote wound recovery, there are also foods that can be detrimental. The most important thing to remember at any time in our daily diet is that whole foods plant-based diets tend to help us maintain the healthiest lifestyles.
Not only should we be looking for anti-inflammatory foods (or ones that are high in vitamins), we should also be aware of foods that can cause inflammation, constipation, high blood pressure, or clogged arteries.
Here are the top foods to avoid post-surgery:
- Red meat
- Highly processed foods
- Refined grain and sugars
- Candy and fast food
- Soda/Pop and sugary juice
- Fried foods and chips
The common theme shared by all of these foods is that most of them are not very natural. They are high in sugar, cholesterol, and saturated fats. These are all the types of foods that can easily cause inflammation and throw off even the most balanced diets.
While animal products are a natural way to get collagen in our foods, red meats are often the most difficult to digest. Plus, they tend to promote high blood pressure and are very high in saturated fats.
If you must eat animal products, choose fish and shellfish as they will have more minerals like zinc and should be less harmful to your health.
Solution 4: Keep An Eye Out for Possible Complications
Getting through the wound healing process seems straightforward enough, but complications can happen.
The most common is infection.
Warning signs of possible complications include:
- Increased or sudden pain
- Redness, swelling, and throbbing
- A fever (100+ F for 4+ hours)
- Unusual discharge and/or oozing of pus
- Increased or changing discharge that is green, thick, tan, or yellow
- Bleeding that you cannot stop
- An offensive odor
- The wound is visibility larger
- The wound area looks dried out or dark
If something doesn't seem quite right or your wound reopens (which is quite common), it is best to consult your physician before you do anything else. While the internet can be a useful resource, it is best to trust your doctor when it comes to post-surgery wound recovery.
Solution 5: Speed Up Post Surgery Recovery with Collagen
Collagen came up when we were discussing the wound healing process.
Within the stages of healing, the second and third stages required the presence of enough collagen to repair the wound and rebuild tissue. While our bodies naturally produce some collagen, our collagen production dramatically slows down after the age of 25.
And, if you’ve just undergone surgery, your natural stores of collagen may be even lower.
Eating foods that contain collagen (or promote collagen production) can be helpful during post-surgery healing. To truly fast track your results, using a supplemental form of collagen that is more bioavailable is an excellent wound care solution.
Effective Post-Surgery Recovery
Everyone’s post-surgery recovery is going to look a bit different. The good news is that there are wound care solutions we can include in our daily recovery plan for effective and efficient healing.
While there are many other post-surgery tips that promote recovery, we only included the top five: proper wound cleaning, staying active but not too active, eating a well-planned and balanced whole foods diet, watching for possible complications, and integrating collagen into your diet.
Choosing the appropriate collagen supplement is one of the easiest ways to help your body through the wound healing process. ProT Gold Liquid Collagen Protein is a medical-grade hydrolyzed collagen supplement. The hydrolyzed nature of it means that it absorbs quickly and the liquid form makes it easy to consume after your surgery.
Over 3000 medical facilities (and our many customers) recommend our ProT Gold collagen peptides as a top wound care solution for speedy post-surgery recovery. If you have a surgery coming up - or are currently in recovery - consider adding ProT Gold to your post-surgery diet.