Post-surgery instructions


Wound care

Your incisions (cuts) are not covered by a bandage but instead with skin closures that detach after 7 to 10 days.

You will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon 3 weeks after your operation.

Pain relief

It is normal to have pain right after your surgery and even for a few weeks afterward. To relieve your pain, follow your doctor’s prescription and your pharmacist’s recommendations.

Unless advised otherwise, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) regularly for the first few days. If the pain gets worse, take your narcotic pain medications as needed and as prescribed. 

You cannot drive:

  • Within 24 hours of your surgery.
  • If you have taken a pain reliever (narcotic analgesic) in the past 24 hours.
  • Until you no longer have dizziness for at least 24 hours.

Anticoagulant shots

To prevent blood clots, your surgeon will prescribe anticoagulant injections once or twice a day. The nurse will show you how to give yourself these shots before you are discharged. You will have to keep giving yourself shots for 28 days. The nurse will give you an information booklet and materials when you are discharged. 

Hygiene at home

  • You can take a shower if you have had laparoscopic surgery (i.e., a procedure done with a camera). You can let the water run over your incisions, but do not scrub them.
  • It is normal for your wounds or incisions to be a bit red and sensitive in the initial weeks following your surgery. 

Wait 1 week after surgery before taking a bath.

Exercise

Do not lift weights over 10 lbs. (5 kg) for 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery. 

After your operation, you need to stay active while following your surgeon’s and nurse’s instructions about exercise. Over time, gradually increase how much you walk until you have returned to your normal activity level. 

Bowel movements

Your intestines will start working normally again in a few days. 

At first you’ll pass gas. Don’t hesitate to move and walk around as much as you can tolerate, as this will help your intestines recover.

To avoid constipation, which can be caused by pain medication:

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day (unless you have a medical restriction against this).
  • Walking can help with bowel function.
  • Try pureed or whole prunes (as you can tolerate).

If these tips don’t help you have a bowel movement:

You can use a mild over-the-counter laxative. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

If you have not had a bowel movement for more than 3 days despite these attempts and good nutrition, consult a health professional (family doctor, pharmacist, Info-Santé at 811).