Post Op Ideas

Hi all! I hope this message finds you well. My external surgery is 2 weeks away and would really appreciate any ideas, tips or tricks of things that helped you post op. Thank you!! :slight_smile:

Glad your date is coming up soon, Eagle1!

•Gel icepacks (2-3) work the best for ice as they will mold to your neck shape. Try to buy smaller ones rather than med. or large. You’ll want to ice 20 min on & at least 45 off so your skin can warm back up but you can do that ice cycle all day/night.

•Wedge pillow - Snapple2020 mentioned the one she got from Amazon which is somewhat adjustable but it’s a bit expensive. I bought mine at Bed Bath & Beyond for $25 & stacked extra bed pillows on it to make the angle steeper (30º is good). Getting used to sleeping pretty upright takes effort but is worth it to help keep throat/neck swelling down.

•Laxative & stool softener to counter the effects of narcotic pain meds. I used CALM powder because I could titrate it to the level that worked best for me & wasn’t confined to a measured dose such as comes in a gel cap or tablet.

•Soft foods i.e. cottage cheese, yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, smoothies, applesauce/canned fruit, hot cereal, mac n cheese, etc. Things that you don’t have to chew much are a good idea to have on hand in case your jaw is sore/stiff post op. Popsicles or ice cubes are good for a sore throat.

•Taking your pain meds on schedule is also important. That means setting an alarm during the middle of the night for awhile so you don’t miss that dose. More recently it seems our members have only needed the heavy duty pain meds for a few days. When I had my styloidectomies, I needed them for closer to a month but only full time for the first week or so.

•Lay low for the first week at least. Let others take care of you. Add activities gradually & keep exertion low for the first month post op as that will help your body heal faster. Listen to your body & be patient. Rest when it asks.

I’ll let others add to what I’ve suggested as I know there is more info. :blush:

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WOW Isaiah! Thank you so much for these detailed great ideas!! It’s nice to hear the difference food options, since I wouldn’t think of most of them! You are wonderful!:blush::heart:


I can’t think of anything really to add, the pillows were useful (I used a V shaped one as well), and soft foods. I couldn’t open my mouth very well afterwards so cleaning my teeth was difficult, so a child’s small toothbrush might be an idea, maybe mouthwash as long as it’s external surgery. Isaiah suggested before some of that dry shampoo in case you can’t wash your hair depending where the stitches are too.
Will be thinking of you :pray: :hugs:


Would you happen to have a picture, or name, of a good ice pack that would work? I bought one and it is too heavy and bulky. I don’t think it will be very comfortable after surgery. Thank you for any suggestions! :slight_smile:

Thank you, Jules! Great idea on the child’s toothbrush! Such a dumb question, but what is a V shaped pillow? The wedge pillow is all I sleep with now (thanks to your recommendation). :slight_smile: I find that since I have been sleeping with a wedge pillow for months now that my lower back gets sore. I also slide down the wedge at night too so I have started sleeping with a pillow under my knees and this seems to help! I would love to know if you ever had any tricks you used while sleeping on the wedge? I love it so much! It is the one place I can find comfort from my symptoms. I look forward to bedtime now lol! Before the wedge, I would lay flat and fill as if my head was flipping (kind of like if I were to be doing a flip turn under water) It was horrific and scary. I am so grateful to have a place of comfort and my sleep again!
How long did you stay sleeping on a wedge after surgery? It is hard to believe I will lay flat again after finding so much relief with the wedge.

Thank you so much for your help!

The V shaped pillow is an orthopedic one/ nursing one, I found it helped take the pressure off the sides of my neck so I could lie on my side too. Not everyone finds it helpful though…having a pillow under your knees is a good idea to ease your back. I used to get weird head feelings at night too, so can sympathise!
It did take a while before I could do without the wedge pillow; I had a year between surgeries (UK waiting times!) so I think I kept it until after I’d had the second side done, I was used to it by then anyway. It’s 5 years ago now though, so I might be remembering wrong!

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Thank you, Jules! Do you happen to know the name of the one you got? If not, I will just look for orthopedic pillows on Amazon and see what I can find. Thank you again for all your help and advice. :slight_smile:

Below is a picsof the gel packs I used. The top one came from Walgreens (obviously) & is my preference because of the rounder ends. The bottom one came from CVS. Target also carries gel packs. Some come w/ a removable cover. You can get even smaller ones from Amazon. I didn’t find the weight of these to be a problem post op. I did use a dish towel between my skin & the gel pack for a little extra protection.

Besides the V shaped pillow Jules mentioned, many of our members have used a U shaped pillow like the ones you can buy for head support to sleep during a plane flight. I didn’t use either because I didn’t think about it. I sleep on a down pillow so I was able to wad it up to provide the head/neck support I needed after surgery. I’m glad you’ve figured out ways to make sleeping easier for you.

I have no tips or tricks. My daughter has her surgery in April. However, we are sending lots of good vibes, happy thoughts, positive feelings, lots of blessings to you for peace during the whole process. May your doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, med techs, etc. all be loving and caring. Speedy recovery! Keep us posted.


I’m sorry it was a while ago, I didn’t spend alot on one though…

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Thank you so much NAWAS! I bet your daughter is ready to have the surgery! Can I ask what her symptoms are and what the plan is for her for surgery? I will be thinking of her. The wait is hard, but God willing there is light at the end of this tunnel for us.

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The only other advice I can add to the excellent information above would be to place rolled up hand towels inside your pillowcase on either side of your head to prevent rolling off to one side or another in your sleep, especially if you have vascular ES.

I am sure you are more than ready for this, it will be here in a blink.
Sending you all of the best in every way, calm, peace, comfort and prayers!


In the US on Amazon, they call the V pillow a u-shaped pillow. I have ordered several and they are made by a company name “Contour”. I still use it even after having surgery for well over a year now. It helps stabilize my neck as I have cervical instability. Very comfortable on top of wedge pillow.

Mac n cheese, Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls and watermelon were my go to’s after surgery. Good luck on the upcoming surgery. Also sign up for some TV extra’s. I re all my 1st week last December faling asleep watching a lot of the Hallmark station. Lots of cheezy xmas love stories. Nothing that requires alot of attention. :rofl:


Thank you so much for the help! :slight_smile: I will try and get one ordered. I will also be looking into some Hallmark movies! I appreciate the ideas!


Thank you so much!!:heartpulse: