Good, sensible after care is very important for an uncomplicated recovery and a good outcome following surgery. Please adhere to your surgeon’s advice.

Length of hospital stay – Average 2 nights after surgery.

Length of time off work – 2 weeks. Thereafter a gradual return to full activity is recommended.

Driving – You should avoid driving for 2 weeks after surgery.

Follow up in Clinic – At one week and 2 weeks and as needed thereafter until all the wounds are healed. You will then be seen at 3 months after surgery.

What to do and expect after surgery

A certain amount of pain or discomfort is normal after surgery. Your surgeon and anaesthetist will do everything possible to minimise the pain in the early post-operative period.

By taking regular analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs the discomfort you experience should be manageable. If any medication disagrees with you then stop taking it and seek medical advice. Over the next few days this should subside and once you do not feel any pain you should gradually reduce and stop taking the analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Remember that severe, unremitting pain that is not responding to the analgesics that you have been prescribed may be a sign that there is a problem and you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. 

Getting up and moving around

Early mobilisation is important to avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and you will be helped to get out of bed the next day to go to the toilet and walk around. The tummy will feel quite tight and in the first week you will feel fairly stiff. Initially you should walk slightly bent at the waist and then slowly straighten up to a normal posture over the course of the week. 

When lying down put a small pillow behind your knee to keep the hips bent slightly to take tension off the tummy wound. You should gradually increase your activities over the next two weeks.

You should avoid going out for long walks. Too much movement too early may result in delay in wound healing, bleeding in the tissue and a build up of seroma fluid. 

Showers and baths

After the first week you can shower. Avoid baths until the wound is soundly healed which usually takes two to three weeks. 

Wearing the pressure garment

This should be worn day and night for at least 6 weeks from the time of surgery, taking off only for showers and bath. Thereafter you can return to wearing normal under garments. 

Exercise and heavy lifting

Exercises, heavy lifting and other similar vigorous activities that will strain the repaired and healing abdominal wall should be avoided for a period of 6 weeks. Thereafter you should gradually return to normal activities but you should always “listen to your body” - some people may need a bit more time to recover fully. If it feels good then you can continue but be prepared to slow down if your body is telling you it is not quite ready to do certain activities.