Having an operation - Getting back to normal after an operation

Don't be surprised if you feel very tired when you get home, especially if you've had a major operation or a general anaesthetic.

It's important to move around as soon as possible after surgery and follow your doctor's advice on getting active again. This will encourage your blood to flow and your wounds to heal, and will build up strength in your muscles. Read about walking for health.

Generally, try to get back into your regular routine as soon as possible. Use this as an opportunity to make a fresh start: to eat more healthily, start exercising to stay in shape, and stop smoking if you smoke.

If you have a dressing on the area operated on, follow the instructions your nurse gave you to care for your wound at home.

How to tell if you might have a blood clot

Signs to look out for after your operation include:

  • pain or swelling in your leg
  • the skin of your leg feeling hot or discoloured
  • the veins near the surface of your leg appearing larger than normal

Read about symptoms of deep vein thrombosis for more information. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.


Your doctor will have given you an idea of how long it'll take to get back to normal.

As a rough guide, it'll take you about a week to recover from a simple operation such as gallbladder removal, and a few months to recover from a major operation such as a hip replacement.

For information on recovery specific to a procedure, click on the links below or look up your procedure in the A-Z index.

You can also check if there's a Get Well Soon leaflet for your particular operation ‐ these guides, produced by the Royal College of Surgeons, give detailed information on recovering from various different procedures.


If you want to let others know about the care you received, you can find your hospital and leave a review or rating.

Find this article useful?

Why not sign up to our mailing list and receive regular articles and tips about IBD to your inbox?