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Laparotomy Discharge Instructions


You may resume a normal diet after returning home. Limit your activity for 2 weeks following surgery. Climbing stairs, walking, and light housework may be resumed at your own pace. No lifting, pushing, or pulling anything greater than 10 pounds for 6 weeks following surgery. You may resume driving 2 weeks following surgery. No sexual intercourse, tampons, or douching for 6 weeks following surgery. You may shower anytime after returning home. 

You may have Steri-Strips or glue over your incision. They are both waterproof. You may experience a small amount of discharge oozing from your incision. You may gently cleanse your incision with plain water and a mild soap. The Steri-Strips may come off after 1 week and the glue may begin peeling off after 1 – 2 weeks. If you are experiencing a large amount of drainage, or your incision is red or warm to the touch, contact our office. 

You may have mild cramping and/or pain at the incision after surgery. If you experience severe pain or fever greater than 100.5°, contact the office.

Expect light bleeding or spotting for several weeks. It is normal to have a brown discharge during the healing process. If you’re experiencing heavy bleeding (soaking a pad every hour), contact the office. 

If both of your ovaries were removed at the time of your surgery, it is recommended that you start hormone replacement therapy with estrogen directly after your surgery. You will be given either a hormone injection or patch while in the hospital. A prescription for estrogen will be given to you at your first post operative visit. If you have menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or irritability prior to this visit, please contact the office.

You may experience feelings of urgency or the need to urinate more often than usual for several days after your surgery. This will gradually improve. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to decrease your risk of a urinary tract infection. If you experience persistent burning or discomfort with urination, contact the office.

You may have difficulty with bowel movements for several days following your surgery. You may need to take over the counter stool softeners such as Peri-Colace if you become constipated. Narcotic pain relievers may cause constipation.

The following medications are recommended for mild cramping or discomfort:

  • Motrin (Advil) 600 mg every 6 hours as needed for cramping.
  • Tylenol (regular or extra strength) 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed for pain.
  • A narcotic pain reliever such as Percocet, Vicodin, Darvocet, or Tylenol #3 may be prescribed for the first few weeks following surgery.

You should schedule a post-operative appointment for 2 weeks and 6 weeks following surgery.



*This information is provided as a resource only and not intended to be a recommendation or a substitute for consultation with your physician regarding your healthcare needs.

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