Information about your operation and recovery

The aim of this information is to increase your understanding of your hospital stay and how you, and possibly your family and friends, can play an active part in your recovery. If there is anything you are not sure about, please ask us.

Eating and drinking

  • Morning of surgery (if on a morning surgery list) – take one sachet of Pre-Load mixed with 400mls of water at around 5am.
  • Morning of surgery (if on an afternoon surgery list) – take one sachet of Pre-Load mixed with 400mls of water at 9am.

A few hours after your operation, you will start drinks and, if you wish, food. Eating and drinking soon after your operation is important as your body needs more nourishment to help heal your wounds, reduce the risk of infection and help your recovery generally. We will encourage you to have normal food.

Staying out of bed and walking

After you wake up from your operation, it is important that you start deep breathing exercises. Support your abdomen with a towel and your arms, bring your knees up slightly and lower your shoulders. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Do this three times and then ‘huff’ with your mouth as if trying to clean spectacles.

Repeat the exercise twice. The whole process should be repeated each hour. This should reduce the risk of a chest infection.

You should also point your feet up and down and make circles (from your ankles) to reduce the risk of blood clots in your legs.

You will be given a small injection of enoxaparin. This helps reduce the risk of a blood clot (thrombosis) occurring by thinning the blood. This will be given to you each day while you are in hospital and you will be trained to give it to yourself at home or you can nominate someone to do it for you. You may also be given support stockings to wear. The staff will help you out of bed about six hours after your operation if you are assessed to be well enough.

You will spend two hours out of bed on the day of surgery and then at least eight hours out of bed each subsequent day. You will be encouraged to walk about 60 metres, four to six times a day, after surgery. By being out of bed in a more upright position and by walking regularly, lung function is improved and there is less chance of a chest infection, as more oxygen is carried round the body to the tissues.

Try and wear your day clothes after your operation as this can help you feel positive about your recovery.

Pain control

It is important that your pain is controlled so that you can walk about, breathe deeply, eat and drink, feel relaxed and sleep well. The doctors will prescribe pain relieving medicines which work in different ways and you will have these regularly (three or four times a day).

Tubes and drips

During your operation, a tube will be put in your bladder so that we can check that your kidneys are working well and producing urine. This tube will be removed as soon as possible, usually on the morning after your operation. You will have a fluid drip put in your arm during your operation to ensure that you get enough fluid. This should be removed the day after your operation. You may be given extra oxygen to breathe after the operation until you are up and about.

Sickness

Sometimes after an operation, a person may feel sick or be sick. This is usually caused by the anaesthetic agents or drugs we use. You will be given medication during surgery to reduce this, but if you feel sick following surgery, tell the staff who can provide other medications. It is important to relieve any sickness so that you can eat and drink as normal, which will aid your recovery.

Monitoring

Many different things will be monitored during your treatment including:

  • Fluid in
  • Fluid out
  • Food eaten
  • When your bowel first starts working
  • Pain levels
  • Time out of bed
  • Number of walks

You will be encouraged to write some of this information in your recovery diary.

When you leave hospital

It is normal to suffer from gripping pains during the first week following abdominal surgery. The pain usually lasts for a few minutes and will go away completely between spasms. Severe pain that lasts for several hours may indicate infection.

If you have severe pain lasting more than one to two hours or have a fever and feel generally unwell, you should contact us on the numbers provided below.

Your wound

Unless otherwise instructed by medical staff, your dressing can be removed one day after surgery, and left open to the air. If you have stitches or clips, you should make an appointment for your practice nurse to remove them five days after your operation.

This can be arranged through your GP surgery – all advice will be given on discharge by your nurse.

Passing urine

Sometimes after abdominal surgery, you may experience a feeling that your bladder is not emptying fully. This usually resolves with time. If it does not, or you have excessive stinging when passing urine, please contact us or your GP, as you may have an infection.

Diet

A healthy, varied diet is recommended. Make sure that you eat regular meals, three or more times a day. It is very important to obtain an adequate intake of protein and calories.

Exercises

Activity is encouraged from day one following your surgery. You should take regular exercise daily. Gradually increase your exercise during the four weeks following your operation until you are back to your normal level of activity.

Do not undertake any heavy lifting until six weeks after surgery. If you are planning to jog or swim, wait until two weeks after your surgery and then start gradually. Common sense should guide your exercise and rehabilitation so listen to your own body. 

Bathing and showering

You should be able to use the shower from the first day after your operation. Once you feel able to get in and out safely, you may use the bath for short periods while your wounds are still healing (seven to 10 days).

Sex

If there is no vaginal wound, you can start having intercourse again as soon as you feel ready. Some women can find sex uncomfortable after surgery and simple things like changing positions or using a lubricating gel can help.

If you have had a vaginal cut, you should wait until all the blood stained discharge is cleared, usually three to five weeks or wait until after your six week follow-up review.

Work

Many people are able to return to work within two to four weeks following their surgery.

If your work involves heavy manual labour, do not return until six weeks following surgery.

Check with your GP or doctor at follow-up if unsure.

Driving

Do not drive until you are confident that you can drive safely. Check with your insurance company before you start driving again.

Hobbies/activities

In general, you can take up your hobbies and activities as soon as possible after your surgery. This will benefit your convalescence. However, do not do anything which causes significant pain or involves heavy lifting for the six weeks following your surgery.

Before coming to hospital

  • Remember to maintain a healthy diet.
  • Bring comfortable, everyday clothes to wear in hospital
  • Bring your normal medications with you, with your name on and in the original boxes/bottles
  • Take any medication you take every day – as advised in Pre-assessment Clinic

After your operation

  • Start deep breathing exercises and circle feet to prevent blood clots
  • Gradually increase the amount of time that you sit out of bed each day
  • Take short walks, gradually increasing the number of walks each day
  • It is important to take regular painkillers
  • Any other tubes or drips will be removed the day after your operation
  • Tell the ward staff if you feel sick, you will be given medication to reduce your nausea
  • Everything that you eat, drink and pass will be monitored, so please give all the details to the ward staff

After you leave hospital

  • You should feel a little better each day
  • Try to eat three regular meals each day
  • Gradually increase your activity over four weeks, until you are back to normal
  • Do not lift heavy weights for six weeks
  • Check with your insurance company before driving

Phone us if you experience any of the following, or contact your GP:

  • Severe pain lasting for more than one to two hours
  • If you have a fever and/or feel generally unwell
  • If you have excessive stinging when passing urine
  • If you have an offensive vaginal discharge or heavy vaginal bleeding

Telephone contacts

Booking Officer
Tel: 01935 384 412

Mr A Shah
Secretary
01935 384 632

Mrs L Karamura
Mrs K Murala
Secretary
01935 384 628

Mrs N Soliman
Mrs F Shah
Secretary
01935 384 292

For any queries about your admission or pre-assessment clinic appointment please telephone your consultant’s secretary on the numbers listed above.

If we are unable to take your call please leave a message on the answer machine including your name and daytime contact telephone number.

Ref: 14-18-170
Review: 02/20