Take time out of your busy day and make a Donation to an amazing cause. Shed some light on Heart Awareness

1300 343 278

Moving forward: what to expect after surgery

Moving forward: what to expect after surgery

What to expect immediately after surgery

Straight after surgery, patients are usually focusing on basic personal care. You’re encouraged to start the process of getting back to basic things, like getting up, eating and drinking.

Weeks after surgery

A few weeks after surgery, you can expect to gradually return to your normal activity levels. After around three weeks you may be able to walk for up to 10 minutes a few times a day, and by week six you should be able to walk for around 30 minutes.

Follow-up care

Four to six weeks after surgery you’ll generally have what’s called a postoperative visit to check everything is on track. Moving forward, it’s important to have regular check ins with your GP or heart specialist. Check with your medical team about which symptoms mean you should contact your doctor for an extra check-up.

Other things to consider after surgery:


  • Depending on how physically demanding your job is, you will need to take 6-12 weeks off work
  • You will not be able to drive for around 6 weeks. If you have a commercial licence, you will not be able to drive for 3 months and testing will be needed before you can start driving again
  • You can resume sexual activity once you are comfortable enough to do so
  • If you drink alcohol, you can consume small amounts in moderation, but you will need to be careful if you are taking the anticoagulant medicine warfarin. Alcohol can affect the way that warfarin works. Speak to your doctor about safe alcohol consumption if you are taking warfarin.

Recovery after surgery

Part of recovery means keeping up good habits. Below are some suggestions of how you can help your recovery process:

  • Embrace a positive physical routine

Exercise when your doctor suggests you can. Physical activity, even if gradual and slow, will help you recover after surgery. Regular exercise will also recharge your mental health and help keep you positive.

  • Keep track and weigh yourself every day

You can expect to lose a little weight after your surgery, especially in the first few weeks. Look out for fast weight gain, as this might mean that you are retaining fluid. If you gain more than 2kg, talk to your doctor.

  • Congratulate yourself

If you have been through surgery, you should be proud and congratulate yourself. Afterwards, make sure to track the improvements you are making, and be positive about how far you have come.