If you recently underwent neurosurgery or brain surgery, your neurosurgeon probably gave you an instruction sheet to take home prior to your discharge from the hospital. Depending on the cause and extent of your surgical procedure, recovery may be relatively short or it may take many months for you to fully recover. Here are some recommendations that you may need to follow after your neurosurgery to help promote healing and reduce your risk for postoperative complications.
Take All Prescribed Medications
After your neurosurgery, you will need to take certain prescription medications. For example, your neurosurgeon may prescribe an antiepileptic medication to help prevent seizure activity that can occur after brain surgery. Your doctor may also prescribe laxatives or stool softeners to help prevent constipation from narcotic-based pain medications. Constipation can cause straining during bowel movements, which can be dangerous for those recovering from neurosurgery because it can lead to an increase in intracranial pressure.
You may also need to take steroid medications to help relieve brain swelling following your surgery. If you experience side effects from your prescribed medications, never stop taking them until your surgeon allows you to do so. If you stop taking your medications before getting medical clearance, healing may be slowed or you may develop serious complications such as excessive cerebral swelling, grand mal seizures, or a cerebral hemorrhage.
Quickly Report Unusual Symptoms
Any delay in reporting unusual signs or symptoms to your physician following your brain surgery may result in slowed healing, postoperative complications, or the need for additional surgery. If you develop a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, bleeding from your incisional site, trouble breathing, seizures, or a fever, call your neurosurgeon right away or seek emergency medical treatment at the nearest hospital.
Other worrisome postoperative signs and symptoms include confusion, severe dizziness or vertigo, chest pain, numbness, mouth or eye drooping, and loss of taste and smell. While some of these signs and symptoms may resolve after your brain swelling subsides, they need to be evaluated by your physician as soon as possible so that early treatment can be implemented.
If you are recovering from brain surgery, follow your physician's discharge instructions. By doing so, you will greatly lower your risk for infection, intracranial swelling, and the need for a second surgery. You are also more likely to enjoy a more favorable long-term prognosis when you adhere to your surgeon's postoperative recovery instructions.
Talk to your neurosurgeon for more details.