Laparotomy

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your caregiver may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

ACTIVITY

  • Rest as much as possible the first two weeks at home.

  • Avoid strenuous activity such as heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds), pushing, or pulling. Limit stair climbing to once or twice a day for the first week, then slowly increase this activity.

  • Take frequent rest periods throughout the day.

  • Talk with your caregiver about when you may resume your usual physical activity.

  • You need to be out of bed and walking as much as possible. This decreases the chance of:

  • Blood clots.

  • Pneumonia.

NUTRITION

  • You can resume your normal diet once you regain bowel function.

  • Drink plenty of fluids (6–8 glasses a day or as instructed by your caregiver).

  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

  • Daily portions of food from the meat (protein), milk, vegetable, and bread groups are necessary for your health.

ELIMINATION

It is very important not to strain during bowel movements. If constipation should occur, you may:

  • Take a mild laxative.

  • Add fruit and bran to your diet.

  • Drink more fluids.

HYGIENE

  • Take showers, not baths, until 4–6 weeks after surgery.

  • If your incision is closed, you may take a shower or tub bath.

FEVER

If you feel feverish or have shaking chills, take your temperature. If it is 102° F (38.9° C), call your caregiver. The fever may mean there is an infection.

PAIN CONTROL

  • Mild discomfort may occur.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Take any prescribed medicines exactly as directed.

INCISION CARE

  • Keep your incision site clean with soap and water.

  • Do not use a dressing unless your cut (incision) from surgery is draining or irritated.

  • If you have small adhesive strips in place and they do not fall off within 10 days, carefully peel them off.

  • Check your incision and surrounding area daily for any redness, swelling, discoloration, heavy drainage, or separation of the skin.

SEXUAL INTERCOURSE

Do not have sexual intercourse until after your follow-up appointment, unless your caregiver tells you otherwise.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You are unable to tolerate food or drinks.

  • You are unable to pass gas or have a bowel movement.

  • Your pain becomes more severe or is not relieved with medicines.

  • You have redness, swelling, discoloration, heavy drainage, or separation of the skin at the incision site.