Guidelines for Post-Surgery Activities
It will take time to regain your strength and endurance after your operation, but eventually your activity level should get back to normal. Follow these guidelines when you get home:
- Do the muscle toning exercises that you began in the hospital two times every day.
- Do not lift anything that weighs more than 10 to 15 pounds (no more than a gallon of milk) until six weeks after the surgery. This includes babies, children and groceries.
- After six weeks, you may gradually begin to lift heavier items if it does not cause discomfort around your incision.
- Walking and stair climbing are excellent exercises for maintaining muscle tone and strength. Consider walking five to ten minutes a day when you first get home, and slowly increasing the time you walk each week.
- Do not do any strenuous exercise such as contact sports, jogging, tennis, sexual activity, or body conditioning (weightlifting, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.) for at least two months after you go home. Talk to your hepatobiliary doctor or nurse before you resume these types of activities.
- It is normal to tire easily. Pace yourself, and rest when you are tired.
You should not drive after leaving the hospital. Some of the medicines you are taking can have side effects that affect your ability to drive safely. You and your doctors must be sure these side effects, such as sleepiness, tremors, muscle weakness, and blurry vision, are under control before you get behind the wheel.
You must also be sure your attention is focused on the road and not on your incision. You should be sure that you could quickly turn the wheel and step on the gas or brakes without being held back by discomfort in your incision. Any pain medication you are taking may interfere with your concentration or ability to stay awake while driving.
When you are feeling stronger, talk with your hepatobiliary team about when you can start to drive again. Wait until your doctor or nurse says it is okay. This precaution is an issue of safety for you and others on the road.
Returning to Work
Talk to your hepatobiliary team about the best time to go back to work or school. We are happy to provide you with a letter to verify that you have needed time off from work or classes for medical reasons.
People with hepatobiliary disease must pay close attention to diet and nutrition. Healthy eating can make a big difference in your immediate and long-term health and wellness. In fact, making healthy food choices is a good idea not only for you as a patient, but also for everyone in your family.
Our nutritionist is available to provide specific diet education - meal plans, recipes and other materials - based on your individual needs. We encourage you to make an appointment so we can create a healthy eating plan for you.
Click here for some specific information about diet therapy to manage complications from liver disease, including ascites and encephalopathy.