The postoperative period

Postoperative pain relief

The VUmc uses a structured and fixed postoperative pain and pain relief protocol during the first postoperative days. An acute pain service will visit you in case of uncomfortable pain and will initiate a tailor-made analgesic strategy. Pain should be interpreted as an alarm signal. Pain will force you to minimally move the body parts that were operated, which will contribute to your recovery. It is not always possible to completely relief your pain. It is however not necessary that pain disturbs your night rest or influences breathing and coughing. The nurse will frequently consult you about your pain level using a scale from 0-10 or 0-100. If your pain level is too high, the analgesic strategy will be adapted. In some cases you will receive a patient-controlled analgesia system that allows self-control of your pain levels. This system is connected to a button that is controlled by you. In case of high pain levels you are able to administer an extra dosage of pain medication without the interference of a nurse. With this system there is no risk for overdosing. Finally, pain medication can be administered using an epidural or locoregional catheter that is inserted before the surgical procedure.

Recovery (holding)

Recovery room
After surgery you will recover in the so-called recovery room or holding. You will stay in the holding until you are fully awake with adequate pain relief. Specially trained nurses manage the recovery room.

Medium Care / Intensive Care
After major surgery it might be necessary to intensively monitor your vital functions during the first hours and days after surgery in a medium care or intensive care unit.

After surgery you may become nauseous. The anesthesiologist will give you medication before or after the surgical procedure or at the recovery to treat your nausea.

Discharge after surgery

Are you discharged on the day of surgery? We advise you to be accompanied by an adult when you are going home. Don?t sleep alone during the first night after surgery. You are not allowed to drive your own car on the day of surgery, and it is recommended to arrange transportation by a taxi. The first 24 hours after surgery you should stay calm and quiet. During this first day after surgery it is not recommended to control machines or to make major decisions. Use light meals during this period.