When you wake up, you may be in the intensive care ward or high-dependency unit for about 24 hours. Or you may go back to the neurosurgical ward straight away.
The doctors and nurses will monitor you carefully. They will do neurological checks, such as testing your reflexes and seeing how your eyes react to light. They will also take your temperature and blood pressure.
Your face and eyes may be swollen and bruised. This swelling should go down within 48 hours and the bruising within a few days. Sometimes a swelling filled with fluid develops under the operation scar. This may take longer but will go down over time.
Drips and drains
You may have a drip (infusion) into a vein in your arm to keep you hydrated and replace fluids you may have lost. A nurse will remove it once you are drinking and eating properly.
There may be a tube coming from your wound to drain blood or fluid into a bottle. This is usually removed a day or two after the surgery.
Some people have a tube that goes up the nose and down into the stomach. This is called a nasogastric tube. It is used to remove fluid from the stomach to stop you being sick.
You may also have a tube called a catheter to drain urine from your bladder. It is usually taken out when you start to move about more.
You may have a headache when you wake up after the operation. The nurses will give you regular painkillers until it gets better. Headaches usually settle over a few days. Always tell your nurse or doctor if you have pain or if the pain starts to get worse.
You will be encouraged to get out of bed as soon as you feel able. This is important to help prevent chest infections and blood clots. It also helps with your recovery. A physiotherapist or nurse will help you get moving if needed.
The wound on your head may be covered with a dressing or bandage for the first few days. The nurses will check it regularly to make sure it is healing well. After about seven to ten days, they will remove your staples or stitches. This can be done at the hospital or at home by a district nurse. If dissolving stitches were used, these won’t need to be removed.