7 Side Effects To Be Wary Of After Surgery

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When undergoing surgery, it’s important to understand the possible side effects. Here are just a few side effects and how to prevent them (or treat them).


After surgery there will usually be some scarring left behind, which may well be permanent. In some cases, surgeons may be able to use keyhole surgery to reduce scarring. It’s important to monitor scarring to ensure that it heals correctly. If scarring begins to become raised (keloid scarring), there may be procedures that can be done to reduce this scarring.

Swollen limbs

Limbs become swollen after surgery as a result of lack of activity. It’s recommended that you try to get up and move around as soon as possible or that your limbs are regularly repositioned by healthcare staff to prevent this. If you smoke or are overweight, you’re more likely to suffer from this symptom.

Blood clots

Alongside swollen limbs, some people experience blood clots in their legs (deep vein thrombosis) after surgery. Blood clots can have serious knock-on effects (such as pulmonary embolism) and are a side effect you should try to avoid. Wearing compression socks can sometimes prevent this problem – you can click for more info on how compression socks can help here.  Blood clots are also more common in smokers and those that are overweight and may similarly be caused by lack of physical activity after surgery. Make efforts to move your legs after surgery to prevent this health problem.

Constipation/trouble urinating

Certain drugs used in anaesthesia can stall bowel movement and prevent urination for a period of time after surgery. Your healthcare team may be able to drain your bladder for you or give you extra drugs like laxatives to help with your bowel movement. Making efforts to try and walk around and be active (but not overdoing it) may also help to get rid of this side effect.

Nerve pain/nerve damage

During surgery nerves can become damaged or trapped. This may cause unusual pain or numbness in a certain area. If this becomes a problem, it’s possible that you may be able to look into further surgery to repair nerves. In many cases, nerve pain and numbness will subside on its own.

Wound separation

After surgery, wounds are typically stitched up. However, these stitches can sometimes come undone. In these cases, you will need to see a doctor to prevent blood loss and infection. Wound separation can often occur after doing physical activity such as lifting or stretching – which your doctor will usually advise you against. Make sure to listen to your doctor’s advice.


Occasionally wounds can get infected after surgery. In these instances, you should tell a doctor straight away so that you can be prescribed antibiotics. Leave it too late, and the infection may require more extensive treatment. Signs of an infection include increased redness, discharge and an unpleasant odour. You can find out more about preventing infection after surgery here.

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