Major Surgery Post-op Instructions

Special Instructions

Call our office the first week you are home and let us know how you are doing.  Schedule your first post-operative checkup for 1-2 weeks from the date of your surgery.

Diet

You may have the diet of your choice unless a specific diet has been given to you.  Avoid spicy or gas forming foods (such as beans, cabbage, etc.) the first few weeks. Avoid alcohol during your recovery period.

Activity

We encourage you to get off the bed or the couch as much as you are able.  Walking as tolerated is excellent.  You should avoid strenuous activity (activity that makes you breathless or makes you sweat). Do not drive for two to three weeks. Going up and down stairs is all right, but keep it to a minimum, and do not do it if you feel dizzy or faint.  No sexual intercourse, douching or tampons, unless specifically instructed by your doctor.

Medications

Resume your regular medications.  Take post-operative medications as directed. Typically we recommend that you take a stool softener and give you a prescription for pain medication.  For constipation, increase your fluids and take Metamucil® or Citrucel®, 1 tbsp. twice daily dissolved in a liquid. A mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia® is fine if you need it. Miralax® is also fine.

Bathing

Showers or tub baths are fine unless you have specific instructions not to take a bath.  A warm Sitz bath in the tub twice a day may be helpful if you have had vaginal surgery, or have external discomfort or pain. You may wash your hair.

Incision Care

Dry your incision well after a bath or shower. You may blot gently with a towel or blow dry on low heat.   If you have small Steri-strips on your incision, they may be removed as they start to come loose.

Travel

We recommend that you not travel outside the immediate Kansas City area until after your six week check-up.

Return to Work

The usual disability period after major surgery is six weeks.  Discuss this with your doctor at your first post-operative check.  Do not forget to bring any paperwork that the doctor needs to fill out. It is best to do any disability paperwork face to face, so we can be sure it is correct.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • A certain amount of red or brown vaginal discharge is to be expected and may have an unpleasant odor.  However, do notify the office if the discharge becomes excessive, pus-like in appearance or foul smelling.
  • Tenderness and numbness around the incision are normal.
  • Fatigue and decreased stamina are common.
  • Hot flashes, mood swings and irritability are common if your ovaries have been removed. 
  • Please call the office if you believe a change in your hormonal regimen is warranted.
  • Decrease in appetite is common but it is important to maintain good nutrition for healing.

ABNORMAL FINDINGS

  • Redness, drainage or severe pain in your incision.
  • Burning with urination.  Please call if you suspect you have a urinary tract infection.
  • Tenderness, redness or swelling in your legs.
  • Acute pain in your chest or shortness of breath.
  • Abdominal pain that is increasing or nausea that is new.
  • A fever that is consistently over 100.4º.  Call the office if this occurs.

24 Hour Availability

Our phone is answered 24 hours a day.  After hours and on weekends calls are forwarded to our answering service.  After you speak with the operator, she will reach the doctor.  You should expect a return call within 15 minutes.  If you do not hear within that time frame, please call back.