Post-Operative Instructions

After your surgery, you will either be transferred to the Fondren Intensive Care Unit (FICU) or to the recovery room and to monitored bed in Dunn 8 or 9.

Tubes and Lines

  • After the operation, you will likely have several lines and drains
  • Nasal cannula or oxygen mask: to provide humidification and oxygen.
  • IV lines: to give fluids and medication
  • Arterial line: to monitor blood pressure
  • Chest tube: to drain fluid and air from the chest cavity
  • Pulse Oximeter: to measure oxygen level
  • Foley catheter: to drain urine
  • EKG lead: to monitor heart rate and rhythm.
  • Each of these tubes and lines will be removed over the next couple of days as you recover from your surgery

Pain management

It is very important to control your pain after the operation. Patients with poor pain control are at a higher risk of developing complications. There are several ways to manage pain including the use of patient controlled administration (PCA) which can be delivered at a touch of button. Pain medication through the IV line or pain medication by mouth. At certain circumstances we recommend epidural which infuses pain medication along the spinal nerve. Everyone has different level of pain tolerance thus you should let your nurse know immediately when your pain is not controlled by current therapy.

Pulmonary toilet

After the operation, you need to work on getting your lungs back into shape. You will start deep breathing and coughing exercises on the evening of your surgery with help of incentive spirometer. You will also need to sit in a chair most of the day and walk at least three times a day after the operation. This will decrease your chance of getting pneumonia.


Excluding patients who had esophageal surgery, you will have liquids night after your surgery and advanced to regular diet next day. You will be started on a bowel regimen such as Colace or Dulcolex since pain medication makes you constipated.