The medications I will instruct you to take following your operation will depend on the type or location of the surgery. Some of these medications should be taken every day for the duration of the prescription, while others can be taken on an “as needed” basis.
Antibiotics such as Kelfex® (cephazolin) may be prescribed following your operation. It is important to take these tablets regularly at the scheduled intervals in order to prevent an infection developing in the surgical wound. Keflex® is usually well tolerated but may occasionally cause an upset stomach or a rash.
Good pain control is very important following your operation as it allows you to resume your normal activities quickly and reduces the likelihood of complications. Simple analgesics such as Panadol® (paracetamol) and anti-inflammatory medications such as Nurofen® should be taken regularly to provide pain relief in all but the smallest operation. When taken consistently and at regular intervals, these medications are very effective at providing a background level of pain relief. These medications are safe with few serious side effects.
The number of days for which these tablets are required will vary depending on your needs and the extent of the operation. This will be explained to you by your anaesthetist.
“As needed” medications
For patients undergoing extensive surgery, the above tablets may not be enough to control your pain. In this case, you may be prescribed stronger forms of pain relief such as Tramadol®, Tapentadol® or a morphine like drug called Endone® (oxycodone). These are strong pain killers and should be taken as directed on your prescription. While they are very effective at treating pain, some people may experience side effects including drowsiness, itch or nausea and vomiting.
Sometimes your anaesthetist will prescribe a tablet or wafer to treat nausea which may result from your general anaesthetic or from some of the pain relief medication. You should only take this to treat this specific side effect, not as a routine.
Your anaesthetist will discuss the specific post-operative medication plan specific for you and provide you with a prescription at the end of your operation. This will aim to maximise your comfort and minimise your side effects, and take in to account any medical conditions which may mean certain medicines are less appropriate for you.
Report any side effects immediately to your surgeon to ensure these are not serious, and to arrange for a suitable alternative medicine to allow your recovery to continue.