Do’s and Don’ts Following Bypass Surgery

Technology has evolved over a period of time and so has the medical scenario for patients who have just undergone a bypass surgery and returned home to lead their normal life again. While there is a major lifestyle change one undergoes following bypass surgery considering you may not be able to conduct similar chores as you did prior to the bypass surgery, there are still ways one can lead a healthy lifestyle.

Do's and Don'ts Following Bypass Surgery

Do’s and Don’ts Following Bypass Surgery

It may seem a bit strenuous once you are back home post a bypass as the attention from the family and friends is all yours however one can begin with jotting down points on what caused the cardiac arrest and the reason they underwent the bypass surgery.

The best way to begin with is to identify such issues and eradicate them or change them. However apart from identifying the risk factors and issues that may lead you back to the hospital stretcher following bypass surgery, there are other dos and don’ts too that one needs to consider before taking up any kind of chores post their bypass surgery.

Why You Must Take Care of the Incision Following Bypass Surgery?

Why You Must Take Care of the Incision Following Bypass Surgery?

Incision is basically a surgical cut done in your chest for the bypass surgery to be conducted. While the upper layer of skin heals by the time one reaches home post surgery, your breastbone will take close a six to eight weeks to heal and hence one needs to avoid any kind of pressure on it. The scar of the bypass surgery will take atleast a month to fade and one must take utmost care of it by regularly applying sun block.

However here are few tips one can undertake to avoid from disrupting the healing process of the incision following bypass surgery:

  • Wear loose clothes that don’t stick to your body as the surgical incision of the bypass surgery needs air to breath.
  • Women must consider shifting to sports bras or slips that are soft and not wired which may cause discomfort.
  • In case you are traveling by a car following a bypass surgery, ensure to stop the car after every hour of drive and walk for at least few minutes to regulate your blood circulation in the body. Ensure to keep a soft towel between the seat belt and your chest when in the car so that there is no pressure in case of a jerk or when the car stops. Avoid rash driving.
  • Take a shower with warm water instead of hot water and ensure you do this using a mug and bucket than a shower or even bath tub as even though it is ok to let warm water to flow over your incision, submerging the wound in water or letting the water pressure of the sure hit it might cause the incision to rupture. Use mild soaps and softer towels to rub and loofah and body scrubs are a big no at least for the initial one month following bypass surgery till the surgeon advices to do so.
  • Clean your bypass surgery incision with medically approved lotions and solution but avoid harsh detergents or antiseptics as it may cause discomfort and may lead to infection. Also ensure to use to cotton swab to do so while cleansing it even a little amount of lather or soap left back may lead to an infection.
  • Sleep straight and avoid sleeping on your stomach at least for the first month as you don’t want your fat or muscles to add pressure on the bypass surgery wound.
  • In case of rashes or swelling or even if you witness blood stains near the incision immediately have a doctor check it before it is too late as you bypass surgery incision may have caught an infection.
  • Patients who have undergone bypass surgery should indulge in cardio vascular exercises like walking or slow jogging and avoid straining yourself too much, this is just to avoid putting on too much weight and laziness.

Why Diet Becomes A Major Concern Post Your Bypass Surgery?

Diet is definitely one of the keys factors to a speedy recovery post bypass surgery as not only it gives your body energy but also accelerates your immune system which makes it easier to once again lead the normal lifestyle. However there are certain do and don’ts while preparing your diet chart post bypass surgery too. While the physician will always share a diet that may not quite please you, you may still need to follow it at least for the initial months till your bypass surgery wound heals.

These are things to note when considering a diet post the bypass surgery:

  • Increase your fiber intake, indulge in more leafy vegetables, sprouts and more fresh fruits rather than processed intake. Ensure to have them whole than juicing them or frying them in oil.
  • Try some low carb diets in case you feel bloated and treat yourself to protein based diets including egg whites, chicken, oats and other foodstuff that are not starchy and will be easy to eliminate from your body.
  • Choose cooking oils that are high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids like Canola oil is recommended for people who have undergone bypass surgery.

Here are few things to avoid in your diet following bypass surgery:

  • There is big no for all junk food as they may just cause unwanted blockage in your arteries.
  • Saturated fats and high calorie foods are best kept away and even cheat meals will have no space in your diet following bypass surgery as anything that will increase your cholesterol level or may add up to your weight needs to out of the diet chart immediately.
  • Give up on sweets and rather indulge in natural or organic sweeteners in case you have cravings like honey that will ensure you curb those sinful cravings without building up on any kind of calories.
  • Indulging in meals recklessly and not eating as per proportions may land you in the hospital back this time for a longer duration.

Why A Bypass Surgery Patient Cannot Indulge in All Activities As Earlier?

A person who is just back from a cardiac related surgery needs to take utmost care while indulging in basic activities like even personal chores like combing one’s hair or carrying stuff. However one needs to take care with the exertion they involve their body based on which they must choose the activities conducted.

To go simple, anything related to lifting your arms high are better inactivity done than keeping your arms low. So in case you indulge in activities like combing your hair or lifting your arms to bid goodbye or picking up stuff from the shelves above or wearing your clothes is fine, but then activities like carrying heavy baggage or moving furniture or even bending down too often to lift things may just cause the incision to exert a lot more causing immense pain and swelling.

Hence it is advised for even fitness freaks to ignore the gym for at least the initial period till the doctor confirms you physical status to hit the weight classes following bypass surgery. You can take few brisk walking sessions in the morning or can walk your dog or can cycle slowly but avoid running, climbing, treks and definitely jumping as these activities may cause harm and exert your body making you gasp for breath and can be too much for your freshly operated heart to undertake.

Bypass Surgery Patient Should Ensure Taking Good Naps and Not Power Naps

Your body needs a lot of rest to recover from the recent medical surgery as it lacks energy. Hence for the immune system to work up back to normal, at least eight hours of sound sleep is a good workout for your body. Also ensure you sleep facing the ceiling and not on your back or cuddle up to something as that may just cause tension in your incision.

Besides all of these factors, there are basic don’ts for the by-pass surgery patient:

  • No alcohol
  • No smoking
  • Avoid any kind of sexual activity at least for the initial one month
  • No Stress
  • No work that will land up increasing your pulse.
  • Avoid Junk and Fatty Foods
  • Avoid Exertion.

All you need to do is be happy and smile as that is what is good for your immune system and most importantly your heart.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 4, 2018

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