Abdominal Hysterectomy: Post-operative Instructions
Pain: It is important you manage your pain with consistent pain medication for the first few days after surgery. Take the prescription medications as directed regularly for the first few days, then take as needed.
Wound: If you go home with staples, your surgeon will provide instructions for staple removal. If a stitch was placed under the skin, this will dissolve in the next few weeks; it does not require removal. The steri-strips across the wound should stay on as long as possible. You can remove these in the shower about 2 weeks after the surgery. A light clear liquid or pinkish discharge from the wound is normal; contact your surgeon if this is foul smelling or thick (pus).
Discharge: Most women will experience light bleeding or a pinkish vaginal discharge for several days to weeks postoperatively.
Self Care: Please refrain from using tampons, douching, or having sexual intercourse for at least 6 weeks after the procedure. Bathing and swimming should not be attempted before 4 weeks following surgery. Showering is fine at any point.
Activity: Avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks after the surgery. Do not drive until you are no longer taking prescription medications and your pain is minimal. You are encouraged to remain mobile and physically active; walking is good. Avoid activities that engage the abdominal muscles for 6 weeks. Climbing stairs is fine; adjust your pace if needed.
When to seek urgent medical attention: Report any of the following: pain that is progressively increasing, an abdomen that is becoming more distended, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, fever > 38.5°C, spreading redness around the wound, a swollen painful leg, or sudden shortness of breath.
Follow-up: See your surgeon 6 weeks after surgery for a checkup and pelvic examination