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What to Eat After Top Surgery

Posted by Dr. Hugh McLean on 25 March 2020
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Like everything else that’s connected to your health, what you eat and what you do affects your health and healing process. Aside from taking your medication at the right time, it is important to know what you should keep eating and what to steer away from. Some food choices or dishes can irritate or make your wound swell when ingested, and it can make the healing process slower or, in some cases, more complicated.

Fruits and veggies close up on the white surface
 
Aside from the diet, there are some vices that you need to at least temporarily stop. Consuming alcohol and smoking is bad for you – it was also bad for you before the surgery. Steer clear from these habits during your healing process. You can ask your doctor what you can have as a substitute if you need these to calm you down after surgery.

Whole Foods

If you’re used to eating meat and greasy fast food, then this will take some getting used to. Eating whole foods doesn’t only make you feel healthier and cleaner, but also helps in speeding up the healing process. Here are common examples of whole foods:

  • Whole grains
  • Fresh fruits and veggies for fibre and vitamins (not the supplements)
  • Tubers
  • Legumes

However, if it can’t be helped, you can eat skinned chicken breast and a healthy selection of fishes. Ideally, cooking them in any way you want is fine as long as it’s not coated with any refined spices and ingredients and not fried. The healthiest way you can cook these meats is through steaming or boiling.

Whole foods basically mean it wasn’t processed or refined to make it more palatable for everyone. This would mean eating the fruit and not buying the processed juice as a substitute. Aside from speeding up the healing process, eating whole foods can also help you lose a healthy amount of weight and feel better every day.

Consult your doctor more about what to eat after top surgery if you have certain conditions you need to take care of. Make sure you disclose everything, from your daily medications to small medical conditions, to make sure your doctor knows.

Whole grain oats topped with fresh berries and a dollop of yogurt close up.

Always Choose High Fibre

Surgeries are known to cause constipation because of the pain medication, anesthesia, and lack of movement, so to combat that, stick to a high fibre diet for a healthy bowel movement. Aside from being healthier than consuming a low fibre diet, it also helps in losing a healthy amount of weight. Constipation also complicates the healing process as forcing to relieve yourself might compromise the stitches.

Don’t depend on fibre supplements and opt for real high fibre foods to improve your bowel movement. While you can drink it, depending on it entirely won’t be as effective as eating high fibre foods. You can also lower the chances of constipation by drinking lots of water. Here are a few examples of high fibre food choices you can enjoy:

  • Whole grain bread (these types are usually darker in colour)
  • Cereal (avoid the sugary kiddie ones and check the label)
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains

Lean Protein Diet

While going for whole foods is great, eating lean meat and other protein can help with the healing process. The amino acids found in lean protein help in rebuilding damaged tissues and known as an effective way to speed up wound healing. Try to steer clear from red meat and dairy products for now as these can cause constipation.

Going for vegetarian dishes is safe as it has a lot of protein alternatives that will give you the amount you need to fully heal. If you’re mostly worried about the taste, these vegan dishes are known to perfectly imitate meat taste. If there’s no appetite, consider blending your needed fruits and veggies to speed up the healing process.

Control Your Calories

When you opt for a more vegan diet, your calorie requirement for the day might suffer and the healing process might be affected too. There are smart ways you can add more calories to your diet and it’s only meant for people who are recovering from surgery and can’t keep up with the calorie requirement. This is especially suggested to people with no appetite during the healing process.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Try using a bit of heavy cream in your recipes instead of nonfat.
  • Go for real sugar in your drinks.
  • Opt for small amounts of real butter or margarine.
  • Cook your dishes using oil.
  • Snack in between meals.
  • Go for veggies and fruits with more calories (like avocado and potatoes)
  • Snack on nuts and seeds.

Foods to Avoid After Top Surgery

  • Avoid eating salty foods as much as possible as it might hinder or slow your healing process. This can also cause constipation as it absorbs most of the liquid in your consumed food. After your top surgery in Ontario, make sure to drink lots of water and stay away from salty snacks and processed food. Salt can also promote swelling in the area, so better lay off on this while healing.
  • Red meat is fatty and harder to digest – as well it can promote constipation that’s really common in surgeries. Constipation is risky for people healing after surgery as it can compromise the stitches and will likely make you bleed more and more prone to bruising and other complications.
  • Anything with alcohol is bad for you during the healing process as it can promote bleeding as it dilates the blood vessels. It’s also suggested to avoid this for now as it can be dangerous to drink or eat anything with a high content of alcohol as it can contradict some of the medication.
  • Dried foods can cause constipation as well, steer clear from beef jerky, dried fruit snacks (dried prunes are fine), and potato chips.
  • Don’t consume any dairy products like cheese or eggs as it can also cause constipation.
  • Avoid sweets for now as it also plays a hand in constipation.

Other Important Recovery Tips After Surgery

Surgery can be a major shock to your body, which is why it’s important to take care of yourself during the recovery period. In addition to watching what you eat, here are some of our top tips to follow after your top surgery procedure:

  • On your first 24 hours, make sure someone is willing to take care of you as you will be sedated and might be dangerous to drive by yourself and care for yourself.
  • Your dressings should be clean and dry as much as possible – only remove them when our doctor instructed you to.
  • Top surgery is considered a major surgery – avoid any strenuous activities and exercises. Lifting anything might make your wound bruise or open it – steer clear from any form of chores and just take a few days off unless prescribed by our doctor.
  • Place ice packs on the area to reduce swelling and pain. Make sure that it doesn’t soak your dressing as it might infect the area. Choose a reliable ice bag or plastic pack to place crushed ice in and take time to heal.
  • Avoid drinking and smoking for the first 21 days as these can slow down the healing process as it might increase the chances of bleeding.
  • When there’s excessive bleeding, call us immediately and we can help you treat it and teach you how to properly manage your surgical wounds.

Conclusion

What you eat and what your habits are can affect your healing process and how your wound heals too. With other healthy practices suggested by our professional doctor, you can heal without problems and are less likely to suffer any complications.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a selection of what to eat after top surgery and foods to avoid after top surgery from our experts – we are always ready and happy to help you heal and enjoy the result of your surgery. Take time to heal and don’t be afraid to reach out to our top surgery services in Ontario for consultation.

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