Medication After Your Surgery

It is common to experience pain after surgery. Part of preparing for surgery is knowing what to expect after the procedure. To manage pain and provide comfort, there are a few options your doctor might suggest.

Pain Relievers

For some patients, medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are enough to make them comfortable. However, for moderate to severe pain, doctors might prescribe a short-term course of opioid pain medications. These may be given through an IV while the patient is in the hospital. Due to the dangers of addiction, prescriptions to take home are not as common.


All surgeries come with the potential risk of deep vein thrombosis and other types of blood clots. This is due to multiple factors, such as being sedentary during early recovery. Another possible cause of clots is the blood responding to foreign matter being released into the bloodstream during surgery, such as collagen, tissue debris and fat. When blood encounters this matter, it thickens in response. This process can result in coagulation. It is also possible for the body to release certain substances that encourage the blood to clot if soft tissues are moved or removed during surgery.

To prevent this potentially life-threatening problem, the doctor might prescribe a short-term course of anticoagulants.


Every year, about 500,000 people who have surgery experience an infection. However, whether patients should be prescribed antibiotics after surgery is a subject of debate. Certain factors that make certain patients more vulnerable to infection might make these medicines an ideal option for some patients. Using antibiotics as a preventative measure within 24 hours of surgery may help to reduce the risk of infection.

In most cases, the antibiotics are only one dose unless the patient has special circumstances that may make them a high infection risk.

Stool Softeners

Those who are prescribed opioid medications may experience constipation. To help prevent this side effect, the doctor might recommend a stool softener. These medicines can make stool easier to pass by making it softer. This can make bowel movements more comfortable. In some cases, a laxative may also be beneficial. An example of a medicine that serves both purposes includes docusate sodium/sennosides.

Anti-Nausea Medications

It is possible to experience nausea when taking opioid pain medications. To control this side effect, the doctor might prescribe an anti-nausea medicine, such as ondansetron. This drug works to block certain chemical actions that can cause nausea. By controlling nausea, recovery is more comfortable, and patients are able to get the nutrients they need to recover.

Patients who have a history with any of these medications should make sure to let the doctor know. This is especially important for patients who have medication allergies.

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