After your surgery and in your ward or HDU

You will have:

  • A patient controlled analgaesia (PCA) button, normally for the first 24 hours after surgery, that helps you to control a safe amount of painkiller delivered into your vein.
  • For open surgery, some patients may have soft fine tubes (rectus sheath catheters), placed in the upper part of their tummy when asleep. A small pump delivers local anaesthetic medication to reduce wound pain for the first few days after surgery.
  • An intravenous drip giving you fluids.
  • An oxygen mask.
  • A urinary catheter into your bladder.
  • Regular anti-sickness medication.

Your nurse:

  • Will check your vital signs regularly and check your wound dressings.


We would like you to work with the nursing team:

  • To make sure your pain is well controlled and you’re not feeling sick. If you do feel sick we can give alternative anti-sickness medication.
  • To enable you to start drinking water/fluids as early as possible and start to have small tastes of food.
  • To continue to breathe deeply, using your incentive spirometer, after your surgery (this is really beneficial for reducing the risks of developing a chest infection).
  • To continue with your oral hygiene.
  • To get upright in your chair and to move around the ward.
  • Look at our information on ‘exercise before and after surgery’.
    You can easily do these during your recovery and we have nurses and physiotherapists available to support you if you’re struggling.

This is really beneficial for reducing the risks of developing a chest infection.

Pain control

Pain relief is important because it helps you:

  • Breathe deeply and use your incentive spirometer at least 10 times every waking hour.
  • Move more easily after surgery.
  • Sleep better.
  • Recover Faster.

Pain scale

  • You will not become addicted to pain medication given to you for surgical pain.

Breathing exercises

Deep breathing:

  • After surgery this will help to prevent you developing pneumonia.
  • Breathe deeply at least 10 times every waking hour, using your incentive spirometer as shown.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Take a deep breath and cough using a towel or pillow to support your wound.

Deep breaths