In a previous post, I discussed the process of undergoing breast augmentation, covering everything from choosing breast implants to recovery. My Albany, NY, patients tell me that most of their questions come up after their procedure, so now I’d like to expand on the topic of recovery, specifically when you should call your doctor’s office after your procedure.
Often after surgery, patients worry that they are bothering their physicians or staff by calling with questions. That is far from the truth. A good surgeon enjoys checking in with his or her patients, and encourages questions and dialogue after a procedure. Commonly, patient dissatisfaction and complaints are due to a lack of communication.
At my practice, patient comfort and safety are top priorities, and we make it very clear that we are only a phone call or email away at all times. We also provide detailed post-operative instructions, which we go over at your final pre-op appointment. Nevertheless, you may still find that questions arise, and there are certainly times when it is important to call your doctor’s office.
Post-operation patients should call their doctor for any of the following reasons:
- You can’t remember what was said during your pre-op visit. This is more common than you might think. There are so many thoughts going through your head as you plan for your surgery and recovery—it is to be expected that you can’t keep track of every detail that was covered. We are happy to clarify instructions or provide reminders to our patients.
- You are not sure when to go back to a certain activity. It’s good to be cautious when resuming activities after surgery. It’s better to call and be sure than to take a chance and compromise your health or your results.
- You have a spot or incision that looks different than the rest. It can be hard to tell if incisions, swelling, bruising, surgical drains, etc. are looking the way they are supposed to. You likely don’t have much of a frame of reference. This is an area where you really need a medical opinion, and we are happy to provide it.
- You feel worse than anticipated. We do everything we can to ensure that our patients recover in comfort. While it is common to feel a little sore and tired, we want to hear from you if you feel that what you’re experiencing is beyond the norm.
- You have a fever, vomiting, unusual pain, or trouble breathing. These can be signs of a serious problem, and need to be addressed immediately. If you can’t get in touch with your doctor’s office, you should have a friend or loved one take you to an urgent care facility for evaluation. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
You can play an active role in your healthcare by keeping an open dialogue with your doctor. By speaking clearly and candidly, you can help him or her provide you with better care. It is important to be truthful about your symptoms and concerns even if you feel embarrassed or shy. You and your doctor are a team, and good communication is essential to patient satisfaction.