Recovery


Bloodless Heart Surgery Recovery

Heart surgery is one of the most sophisticated and complex types of surgery. It is demanding and requires an excellent team of physicians, assistants, and support personnel. Minimally invasive heart surgery significantly decreases the amount of trauma and damage to the patient and makes for a much easier recovery. What is Bloodless Heart Surgery? Related to advances in heart surgery, bloodless surgery has made great strides since the 1990s. Instead of using transfusions to replace blood lost during surgery, great efforts are made to reduce bleeding during surgery and harmonic scalpels clot blood while cutting tissue. Hemostatics stop bleeding before, during, and after surgery. Bleeding vessels can be sealed by an argon beam coagulator. Also, what blood is lost during the procedure is collected and returned to the patient’s circulatory system. Bloodless surgery avoids complications of transfusion, including disease (negligible risk), depression of immune system function, allergic reaction to additives in stored blood, and inflammatory response. Avoiding transfusions can make for a better recovery after heart surgery. Combining minimal blood loss with minimally invasive heart surgery can give excellent results for recovery, even with elderly or frail patients, who would have been a poor risk with earlier kinds of techniques. Still, the doctor’s skill and experience are important factors in how well the surgery, and the recovery, go. Does This Surgery Cause Scarring? Usually, minimally invasive heart surgery is done with a two-inch incision between the ribs. So, unlike earlier versions of heart surgery, bones do not have to be broken to gain access to the heart. Given time after surgery, the scar can fade to where it is...

Do You Have to Diet Before or After Heart Surgery?

Heart surgery is one of the most critical types of operations that can be done on the human body, and it is usually only pursued if other, less aggressive treatments have been exhausted. To provide the optimum conditions for a successful procedure, preoperative and postoperative guidelines must be observed. One of those guidelines pertains to the patient’s diet. What to Eat Leading up to Surgery? Simply put, one of the biggest problems complicating heart surgery is obesity. The more overweight a patient is, the more difficult the recovery will be. Diets designed to help prepare a person for heart surgery, then, are often focused on losing weight. Time is of the essence, and the more time before surgery the patient has to focus on this goal, the better. If the patient has at least two weeks before heart surgery, they might benefit from emphasizing fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein, whole grains, and low sodium in their diet to help lose weight and lower blood pressure as much as possible. The total number of calories per day, on average, to consume pre-heart surgery is fairly low, at 1,200 to 1,800. Diet recommendations include more servings of fruits and vegetables than whole grains, proteins, or healthy fats. Restrictions are suggested for sweets, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. What to Eat After Surgery? As with the pre-surgery diet, what to eat after surgery often leads to a leaner, heart-healthy diet. Recommended is a diet with extra omega 3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and unsaturated fats. On the other hand, it is not recommended that saturated and trans fats, high sodium foods, processed...

Common Complications Following Open Heart Surgery

All forms of surgery present degrees of risk, but the complications that can follow open heart surgery pose unique dangers. Surgeons will take every precaution possible to minimize these risks and ensure their open heart surgery success rate remains high, but it’s beneficial to educate yourself on these risks and ask questions. There are numerous factors that determine what you as an individual are at most the risk of experiencing, and many of them relate to your personal health history. Let’s look at some of the most common open heart surgery risks of death and injury. Bleeding The most common complication after open heart surgery is bleeding from the area of the incision or surgery site. During the surgery itself as well as recovery, you will be closely monitored and your progress tracked. Some bleeding after surgery is expected until the blood coagulates again, but if concerns arise if the bleeding lasts for an extended period of time without slowing or if you are bleeding “in” rather than “out.” Blood Loss Too much blood loss following a major procedure like open heart surgery can quickly snowball into a life-threatening situation. This is true even given a surgeon with a great open heart surgery success rate. Anemia can follow blood loss, depriving blood of red cells and hemoglobin, ultimately curtailing delivery of oxygen to body tissue. Traditionally, blood transfusions have been used in response to blood loss, but this isn’t a viable option for everyone. There are certain religious convictions against blood transfusions, and transfusions may weaken the immune system. For patients with concerns about blood transfusions, bloodless heart surgery...

Home Care After Heart Surgery

While your body has a natural healing process that tends to kick into gear after a traumatic experience, certain kinds of wounds and procedures take more of a toll on your health than others. One of the most serious surgeries you can undergo is heart surgery. Because your heart is vital to your health, anything that disrupts it can have a serious impact on the way your body functions. With this in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that the recovery time from heart surgery generally spans several weeks to a few months, even when performed by a skilled surgeon such as Dr. Ciuffo. There are important steps you’ll need to take when recovering from surgery and practicing home care after surgery in order to regain your health. Wound Care One of the most important parts of home care after surgery is paying close attention to the wound. It’s important to keep the cut as clean and dry as possible. This includes skipping baths or showers for a few days to allow the wound time to heal a bit. You also need to watch out for any abnormalities that could indicate an infection, such as an increase in drainage or oozing, the edges of the incision pulling apart, and a warmth or redness around the cut. Any of these issues could be cause for alarm, particularly if they are accompanied by a fever of over 100° F. Reach out to Dr. Ciuffo’s staff for advice if your wound exhibits any of these issues. Expect the Pain While you are likely to be prescribed some kind of pain medication while recovering...

Healing from Scaring After Heart Surgery

Heart surgery is a procedure that often leaves scars on the chest, sternum, back, abdomen. or other places in which an incision is made. Healing from these scars does not mean that the scars will disappear. However, they will become less pronounced over time, and there are secondary procedures which can be performed following the surgery to reduce or remove these scars. Furthermore, while some incisions are bound to leave major scars, there are a number of incisions that minimize scaring during heart surgery. What Scaring Will There Be? The type of scars that will develop after heart surgery depends upon a number of factors. Most important among these is the type of heart surgery being performed. Open-Heart Surgery is highly invasive and typically requires large incisions be made within the chest and sternum. Heart transplants, valve repairs or replacements, and a number of other procedures are often performed using open heart surgery. There are other forms surgery, which are similarly invasive but do not require cutting open the chest. One such surgery includes the repair of an aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs whenever there is a bulging blood vessel within the body. Thus, this type of “heart surgery” may occur in areas of the body far away from the heart. At the same time, some aneurysm repairs may be minimally invasive. Other forms of minimally invasive heart surgeries include: Certain forms of heart valve replacements or repairs Transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR), which requires a small incision be made within the chest so that the heart muscle can be exposed to a high-energy laser. This relieves angina by helping the...

Recovering from Heart Surgery

Recovering from heart surgery can take anywhere from a few days to several months. The rate of recovery depends largely upon the type of surgery performed. While open heart surgery will require a longer recovery time, minimally invasive surgeries typically take a much shorter period. There are also other steps involved to ensure complete recovery. Following certain recommendations can also speed up recovery. Nonetheless, heart surgeries often require overall lifestyle changes. Steps to Ensure Complete Recovery Many people want to get out of the hospital as soon as possible after a surgery; however, a complete recovery can often be made much quicker within a hospital. Under the careful observation of medical practitioners, a person can be more able to ensure complete recovery. Whether a person chooses to recover at home or in a medical facility is an issue that the patient, family of the patient, and physician should discuss together. In either case, a personalized plan for recovery should be requested by the patient. If possible, the patient, his or her and family, and the physician will create a plan for recovery together. Can You Speed Up Recovery? There are certain steps that can be taken by all individuals to speed up their recovery after a surgery: Be patient with the healing process, and do not overexert yourself too quickly. This might mean pausing work, exercising less, or doing other things to allow the body the time it needs to heal. Eat a healthy diet. After heart surgery, a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids, CoQ10, folate, vitamin K, monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and other nutrients are recommended. These...