Post Laparotomy

Post Laparotomy

Post-laparotomy (open abdominal surgery) discharge advice

  • You may require four to six weeks off work, depending on your type of employment and the nature of your illness.
  • Your abdominal wound may have staples or stitches covered by a dressing. Dr Farrell will advise you if/when these are to be removed.
  • You will be given specific discharge medication if required, but you may use paracetamol (Panadol) as required (one to two tablets every four hours up to a maximum of eight tablets per day).
  • It is important for you to shower rather than bath until the skin cut has healed
  • It is important for you to use sanitary pads and not tampons for the first two weeks
  • You will be able to drive a car once you are comfortable to drive and act in an emergenecy, if required (usually at least 2 weeks)
  • You should not lift objects heavier than 5 kgs for at least 6 weeks, or as instructed by Dr Farrell
  • You should not perform vigorous exercise for at least 6 weeks, or as advised by Dr Farrell
  • If you have had a hysterectomy (removal of uterus) you should not have intercourse for 8 weeks
  • You will usually have a follow up visit with Dr Farrell at 10 days post surgery and at 6 weeks post surgery

Post-operative Problems

 Common Issues:

  • Constipation: You should avoid straining hard to pass stool. If you do not open your bowels for more than two-three days you may need to take or increase the use of regular bowel medication such as Movicol, Coloxyl, or Lactulose. Your chemist can advise.
  • Pain: wound tenderness and discomfort is uaual and may last up to 3-4 weeks. You should be be able to walk reasonably comfortably with analgesia
  • Wound infections are uncommon. The usual sign of an infection is that the skin around the wound becomes very red and hot or there may be discharge from the wound. Small infections may settle after the discharge is cleaned away and an antiseptic like Betadine is applied twice daily. If you are concerned about the wound please contact us; it is possible antibiotics may be required.

The following signs and symptoms are not part of a normal recovery:

  • a fever > 38.5°C or are feeling unwell
  • offensive vaginal discharge or heavy bleeding
  • wound becomes hot, painful or has offensive fluid draining from it
  • nausea and vomiting which does not settle
  • unable to empty your bladder or bowel
  • severe pain.
  • Tenderness or swelling in a leg/calf

Please contact Dr Farrell’s Rooms on 9650 4469 Monday-Friday during business hours. Outside of these hours, ward 6 South, POW Private hospital 96504491/92 or for acute emergency attend the Prince of Wales Public Emergency or your local Emergency Department.