Take Care on the Road to Recovery

Recuperating After Surgery:
Your Need-to-Know Info

Young girl hugging adult with IV in arm

Post-Surgery Care: What to Do on the Daily

Plan on spending at least 10-20 minutes caring for your surgical incision every day. It could be more if you have multiple incisions or were sent home with special care instructions.

You’ll need to:

  • Inspect it regularly to make sure it’s free from infection
  • Clean it
  • Change the dressing
Woman practicing self after taking a shower

Getting Clean While Staying Covered

As regular as showering may be, get your healthcare provider’s okay before jumping in after surgery. And keep in mind, your incision needs a little extra protection in there:

  • Keep it dry with a waterproof bandage that seals on all four sides.
  • Avoid soaking or putting it directly in strong streams of water.
  • Stay away from shower gels, soap, and lotions.

After showering, remove the waterproof bandage and cover your incision again with a clean, dry dressing.

Woman resting on couch in yellow shirt

Abdominal Surgery Recovery

Because your core—your abdomen—is involved with so many of the moves your body makes, recovering from abdominal surgery can require some special care.

Take It Real Easy

No stretching or straining allowed. Recruit help where you can because everything you need should be brought to you or within a short arm’s reach.

Support the Abdomen

Maintain good posture when walking and standing. And hold your abdominal incision for sudden movements, like when laughing, coughing, or sneezing.

Get Comfy

To sleep, use an extra pillow between your knees and another under your stomach when lying on your side. This should help keep you comfortable and stop you from rolling onto your abdominal incision.

Move Around … But Not Too Much

You need rest, but too much lying around can trigger blood clots or pressure ulcers.3 Getting up and gently walking after surgery will get the blood flowing and your digestion moving. A bit of discomfort is to be expected, but make sure you’re not straining your abdominal area in any way. Too much activity can land you back in the hospital.

Avoid Lifting

Your doctor may tell you a different amount, but generally avoid lifting anything more than 5lbs while recovering after surgery. This includes groceries, laundry, children, and pets.

Mother kissing new born on forehead

C-Section Incision Care & Recovery: Don’t Rush to Bounce Back

The days and weeks that follow a C-section bring their own special care requirements—and that’s not including the baby! Just know that taking care of yourself while you recover from a C-section is every bit as important as taking care of your new little life.


“Surgical Site Infections” https://www.cdc.gov/HAI/pdfs/ssi/SSI_tagged.pdf

“How to Take Care of Your Wound After Surgery” https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/surgical-wound-care

“Mistakes After Surgery that Slow Your Recovery" https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/rehab-mistakes#1

When to Call a Doctor

Even with the most conscientious care, you can run into trouble with post-surgery wounds. You may find yourself wondering if your symptoms are normal or a sign of emergency. If you’re ever seriously concerned, err on the side of caution and call your doctor.

Two doctors checking the heart rate of a young child.

Not sure what to do?

Call our Nurse Hotline to speak with a medical professional.


Seek professional if you have:

A surgical incision that is swollen, hot, or notably red

A wound that has green or yellow drainage

A wound that smells bad

Bleeding that does not stop with pressure

Pain that is not getting better

A feeling of hardness or fullness around the incision

A surgical incision that has opened

A fever or 38.3°C or 101°F

Find the Best Bandage for the Job

Not sure which BAND-AID® Brand adhesive bandage to pick? Our Product Recommender can help you find the one that’ll do the trick.

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