AFTER ABDOMINAL SURGERY

Your mind and your body need plenty of rest to recover after surgery. You will feel tired more easily and you will not have your full level of energy for the first 6 weeks after surgery. This is normal. You will be bruised and swollen after surgery. Bruising gets better in about 2 to 3 weeks. Much of the swelling improves in 6 weeks, but you will continue to have some swelling for up to 6 months after surgery.

  • You can shower 48 hours after surgery. Soap and water can run over the incisions and the surgical tape but be careful not to scrub or rub directly on the incisions while washing or drying off. Be gentle. Pat dry.
  • NO baths, Jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, swimming, or submerging the incisions until after the incisions have completely healed. This is typically at least 4 weeks after surgery
  • Leave all tapes on the incisions. These stay on for 4-6 weeks.
  • Arnica Montana is a homeopathic anti-inflammatory that can help swelling and bruising to resolve more quickly. It is available over the counter at most pharmacies in oral tablets or topical forms (gel, cream). You can apply to the skin where there is bruising and swelling but not directly over incisions. You can start the oral tablet 1-2 days before surgery or use the tablets or topicals after surgery.
  • Sleep inclined at about 30 degrees (Consider sleeping in a recliner or with a few pillows stacked under your knees and also under your head, neck, and upper body) for 1 week after surgery.
  • If you have drains, be sure to strip the tubing at least 3 times a day and empty the bulb after stripping. Be sure to monitor the drain output on your sheet. Bring the sheet with you to each appointment.
  • Do not sleep face down on your stomach for at least 6 weeks after surgery.
  • You may sleep on your side 1 week after surgery.
  • Wear an abdominal binder or a support garment day and night for 4 weeks. It only needs to be snug, NOT tight. Sometimes the abdominal binder material can be scratchy and uncomfortable; you can wear a camisole or t-shirt underneath to protect your skin from the binder material.
  • After 3-4 weeks, you may remove the garment for sleep but continue to wear it during the day until 6 weeks post op.
  • Driving is typically OK after 7-10 days. You must be able to safely get in and out of the car, move your body enough to see behind you, and not be taking any of the following medications: gabapentin, tramadol, oxycodone, diazepam (Valium).
  • Do not lift/push/pull anything heavier than a gallon of milk for the first 2 weeks.
  • Activity Timeline
    • Week 1: Walking around the house or short distances outside (walking is the best way to prevent blood clots. Try to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3-4 times/day)
    • Week 2: Light short walks around the neighborhood.
    • Week 3: May begin cardio based exercise (treadmill, bike, elliptical). May start lifting 5-10 pound weights.
    • Week 4-6: Increase weights by 5 pounds per week. Increase time spent with cardio based exercise as tolerated.
    • Week 6: May resume all exercise except core/abdominal work.
    • Week 12: Resume all normal activities including core/abdominal exercises.
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Your beauty is a symphony. Don’t trust it to anyone less than a true performer and a master at his craft. Chelmsford plastic surgeon, Dr. Dave Lee brings the virtuosity of a concert pianist and the artistry of a renowned plastic surgeon to each procedure. Schedule a consultation today to discover why patients across New England are singing the praises of Dr. Lee and his staff at PURE Cosmetic Center.

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