What to expect after surgery

After surgery you will be given a discharge summary by the hospital which includes information about the surgery for your General practitioner (family doctor). Mr Lower will also provide an operation report which usually arrives a few days after the operation detailing the findings and the procedure undertaken and a plan for removal of sutures (if required) and plan for follow up and future treatment.

It takes a lot of energy for your body to recover from surgery so make sure you have plenty of rest and don’t be afraid to sleep. Most people feel exhausted after surgery, but with minimal access surgery this usually passes quite quickly.

Most people feel very tired after surgery which is the body’s normal reaction to the healing process that makes significant drains on one’s energy. Take plenty of rest.  
You will no doubt have some pain.  You will be given pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs on discharge from hospital which should help.  After laparoscopic surgery people often experience pain in their shoulders and back.  This is caused by the carbon dioxide gas forming a weak acid with water which stimulates the diaphragm and the body relates pain in the diaphragm to the shoulders.  This usually responds to simple pain killers.
Mr Lower usually leaves a litre or so of fluid called icodextrin, which looks and feels like water, in the peritoneal cavity to reduce the likelihood and impact of pelvic adhesions after surgery.  This can sometimes leak out of the laparoscopic wound sites and may cause quite an alarming swelling of the labia.  This is nothing to be concerned about and will settle within a few days. The fluid is often blood-stained. It will often collect in the labia and can cause some alarming swelling. Don’t worry, this will also settle in a few days.
It is not uncommon to experience some vaginal bleeding after gynaecological surgery.  This may last for up to 2 weeks.  If it becomes heavier or causes concern please contact Mr Lower.
You may eat and drink normally after gynaeclogical surgery.  Try to drink plenty of water to maintain a satisfactory urine output and ensure you do not become constipated.

Once you begin to feel better you can start to resume your normal activities.  Most people feel up to driving after a few days following laparoscopic or hysteroscopic surgery.  You should not drive for 24 hours after a general anaesthetic or up to 6 weeks following a laparotomy (open surgery).  

You can resume physical exercise slowly during the post-operative period.  Reduce the intensity of your training and try to avoid exercises which increase the intra-abdominal pressure, such as sit-ups and crunches.  If you experience pain, you are doing too much.  Stop and rest for a few days.

If you have sutures or staples these should be removed 7-8 days after surgery. This often be booked at the consulting rooms, but if you have far to travel it can be done at your GP surgery.

After hysteroscopic surgery Mr Lower often leaves an IUCD in the uterus help to reduce the chance of adhesions forming or reforming afterwards. The IUCD is usually removed 4 weeks after surgery and can be done ion the rooms or at your GP surgery. If you have an IUCD please don’t use tampons for the first week or so after surgery.

After most types of gynecologic surgery, you should not put anything in your vagina until the tissues are completely healed. Doing this can increase the risk of infection and interfere with healing. This includes tampons, douches, fingers, and all types of sexual activity that involve the vagina. Mr Lower usually recommends that you also refrain from having baths for a week. The mucus plug at the cervix or entrance to the uterus is disturbed by surgery and can reduce your defence against infection.