After outpatient abdominal surgery, you will need to follow specific rules and guidelines that your healthcare team gives you to ensure a safe and sound postoperative recovery. Your daily routine post-surgery may vary based on the type and severity of the surgery. Below are some basic guidelines you should follow.
The handful of days after the abdominal surgery are the most critical to prevent disruptions to the healing process and keep your pain levels low. In rare instances, allergic reactions to medical tape, sutures, or injected agents may occur.
Throughout the healing process, your sutures may become more noticeable to you and cause irritation, in which case you’ll need your sutures evaluated. As your skin heals, you may notice the scar become bright red, swollen, or discolored. The sutures may leave marks around the scar as well. Most of these will fade over time, but in rare cases, scars can limit your daily functions and thus require surgical treatment.
It’s natural for the areas around the scar to feel sensitive and tight. Pain is to be expected after surgery at varying degrees and intensity. On occasion, nerves may become agitated from scar tissue, and chronic pain may result.
After surgery, you will be given personalized instructions on activities to avoid, but there are some general rules that apply to all patients:
Your surgeon will personalize your dietary recommendations based on the type of surgery and your own personal medical needs. You’ll likely be told to avoid solid food and consume only clear liquids such as broth, jello, and shaved ice for the first 24 hours after surgery. Most importantly, drink plenty of fluids, as they aid in the healing process.
Once you can eat solid food again, make sure to get enough protein and calories to maintain your weight. Avoid unhealthy foods high in fat, sodium, or sugar.
Pain medication can make you constipated, which will cause further strain on the abdomen and impact healing. Your doctor or surgeon may recommend taking stool softener two days before the day of the surgery to help with bowel movements after the procedure. Both over-the-counter stool softener or herbal laxatives can be utilized after surgery. Always drink water while taking a laxative.
Tylenol or ibuprofen (but not aspirin) can be used as a pain medicine as long as you aren’t allergic. Additionally, to use these pain medications, you should obtain your doctor’s approval. Your doctor or pharmacist will suggest a proper dosage and number of times per day to take pain relief medication. If you have a prescription for a painkiller, your doctor or pharmacist will give you dosing instructions.
After surgery, complications such as Infections are rare if you follow the above directions. It’s key to avoid the restricted activities listed above so you can heal properly, prevent future complications, and avoid additional harm to the recovering wound. If you notice any unusual symptoms, call your healthcare provider.
As you head home, you’ll be given papers and notes with detailed recovery directions. Don’t lose these – the instructions above are for everyone, but these detailed, personalized directions are just for you. Read them carefully and consult them when you have questions.
Dr. Franklin joined the medical staff at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in January 2011. He was previously in private practice in Gadsden, Alabama for over five years. He is board certified in general surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
His practice includes the full range of General Surgery – hernia, colon resection, gallbladder surgery, and other diseases of the intestines and abdominal organs. He also does surgery on the thyroid, parathyroids, and skin. He has had a distinguished career in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. While in Alabama, he was the first surgeon in the state to complete a gallbladder removal with the da Vinci robot. After moving back to Georgia, he is the first surgeon in the Piedmont health system to complete gallbladder removal with the da Vinci robot, and also the first ever utilizing a single incision in the umbilicus. He is one of a very few surgeons in the US utilizing this technique. He has been involved in laparoscopic surgery for 20 years and over 12 years robotically.
He has published and given numerous presentations to include topics of advanced laparoscopic procedures, cellular behavior of cancers, trauma, multiple sclerosis, and intravascular ultrasound. He has most recently served as chairman of the department Surgery at Piedmont Fayette. He now serves on the medical executive committee and utilization review committee. He also is involved in research projects in the US and internationally.
Dr. Franklin believes that to plan the best possible operation, the surgeon must understand and listen to the patient. He can then plan and educate the patient in regards to their forward progress. He understands that operations are not without risk, and the patient must understand those risks along with its benefits, and the alternatives to treatment.Make an apppointment