You will need to rest frequently during the first week. Avoid stairs if possible. You may walk around the house as tolerated, at a 45 degree angle bent at the hips. Your back may become sore in this position but this will improve as you recover. Rest & sleep on your back for at least 7 days with your head elevated and knees bent and supported with a pillow as this will keep the tension off your abdomen. Do not sleep on your side. During the day, get out of bed every two to three hours and walk for short stints to stimulate circulation, then return to resting.
Most patients resume driving on their own after 14 days though this will vary. Proceed when you arecomfortable, off pain medication and cleared by Dr Geldenhuys to do so.
Return to normal activity should be a gradual process and should never cause discomfort. Stop if you areuncomfortable!
- First 3 weeks: You may take a gentle walk within a few days, “short Sunday stroll”.
- Weeks 4-6: Legs & light cardiovascular exercise only (lower body movement, no arms)
- Week 7-12: Gradual increase in cardio exercise & light upper body training( abdomen, biceps - no peck exercises for first 3 months )
DRESSINGS, DRAINS & PRESSURE GARMENTS
There will be several drains and you will have dressings on your abdomen. The drains evacuate the fluidthat accumulates after surgery and facilitates healing. Dressings and drains will be removed 4 – 6 daysafter surgery. A pressure garment will be fitted after surgery and should be worn day and night for 12weeks after surgery. (You may, of course, remove it to shower and launder). This minimizes swelling andimproves the final result. A second garment will be supplied on request.
BATHING & SHOWERING
Have shallow baths until the drains have been removed. After the drain removal you may shower. If youprefer to bath, do not allow the incision lines to soak for more than a few minutes. After your stitches havebeen removed you may bath normally.
Most of the sutures are under the skin and do not need to be removed. There may be some suturesaround the belly button and ends of incision sites which will be snipped between days 7-10.
Scars take at least one year to fade completely. During this time, you must protect them from thesun. Even through a bathing suit, a good deal of UV radiation can reach the skin and causedamage. Wear a sunscreen with a skin-protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 at all times when outdoors.
It is common for the skin of the abdomen to remain partially or completely numb for several months orlonger. Your abdomen will feel tight for a few weeks. Tingling, burning, or shooting pains indicateregeneration of the small sensory nerves. This feeling will disappear with time and is not cause for alarm.It may take as long as two years for sensation in the abdomen to be completely restored.
The incisions will be covered with Micropore & Bactroban ointment for about 10 days after surgery, andthereafter topical Vitamin A or Silicone will be used for 8-12 weeks. (this will be explained to you aftersurgery).
Take medication as directed.Contact Dr Geldenhuys if you develop nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation or bloating. If painpersists despite pain medications please contact Dr Geldenhuys.
You may be required to wear TED stockings for compression to prevent DVT (blood clotting) postoperatively.If required these will be fitted and supplied to you. The nursing staff will advise you on howlong you need to wear these.
Have 3 meals a day with sufficient fiber, protein & carbohydrate and stay hydrated with plenty of fluid.Water and non-carbonated juices are preferable.
CALL ROOMS (021) 424 5218 IF YOU HAVE:
- A temperature greater than 37’C.
- Bleeding from the incision or drain sites.
- A sudden increase in pain, or swelling of the breast or around the incision site.
- Any questions regarding your care.