If you have just had an appendectomy surgery, your appendix has been removed by a surgeon. It is natural for you to feel weak and tired post-appendectomy for several days after you return home. Your belly might be in pain or swelling. If you have had a laparoscopic surgery (a minimally invasive procedure in which a small incision is made in your abdomen), chances are high that you experience pain in your shoulders as well for about 24 hours. You may also feel sick or experience signs of diarrhoea, gas, constipation or a headache. But don’t worry. All these signs usually go away within a few days.
The recovery time post-appendectomy depends on the type of surgery that you have gone through. If you have had an open surgery, it may take 2 to 4 weeks for you to recover, while if you have undergone a laparoscopic surgery, it may usually take around 1 to 3 weeks to recover.
Although each person recovers at a different pace, it is advised that you follow a certain health-care routine to recover as quickly as possible and also avoid appendectomy complications.
Post-appendectomy care at home
Here’s what you can do to ensure a speedy recovery at home:
Guidelines on physical activity:
- Take as much rest as you need. Regular good sleep will help you recover faster.
- Try to go for a walk every day, and try to walk a little more than you did the previous day. Increase the amount of your walk bit by bit daily. Walking helps in boosting your blood flow and prevents chances of constipation and pneumonia.
- Avoid lifting anything heavy for the next 2 weeks after an appendectomy surgery. These may include lifting up a child, carrying heavy grocery bags or vacuum cleaners, a backpack or a heavy briefcase.
- Avoid activities that are strenuous such as cycling, weight-lifting, jogging or aerobic exercises until your doctor asks you to resume your activities.
- Abstain from taking shower until your doctor advises you to. If you experience a drain near your incision, call your doctor and follow his instructions.
Guidelines on diet:
- You will be asked not to take your normal diet post-surgery. Sticking to a liquid-based diet would be the best since after any surgery, the gastrointestinal tract takes time to wake up and a liquid-based diet can help ease the process. Such a diet includes the consumption of clear soda, apple juice, gelatin and broth.
- As your body begins to recover, a soft diet is suggested to let your intestine heal fast. A soft diet includes rice, potatoes and cooked chicken. Avoid taking spicy and fatty foods during the recovery period.
- High-fibre foods in your diet will help prevent constipation and is vital that you eat them regularly. These may include foods like dried fruits, beans, whole grains, raspberries etc. It is important to balance the intake of high-fibre foods as consumption of high quantities of such foods can increase your risk of intestinal gas.
Guidelines on medicines:
- Your doctor will suggest you when to resume your medications. He may also instruct you about taking new medicines.
- If you take blood thinners, you must talk to your doctor. He would suggest you when to start taking them again.
- If your appendix is ruptured, you will need to take antibiotics. Do not stop taking them unless you complete a full course of the antibiotics.
Guidelines on post-surgery incision-care:
- If you have pieces of tapes still left on the incision, leave them as it is until they fall off on their own.
- If you have gone through an open surgery, staples may be present in your incision, which the doctor will take out within 7 to 10 days.
- You may be allowed to wash the area with warm water. But wash the area only after you are suggested by a doctor to do so.
Be sure to visit a doctor or your nurse if you face any other problem after the surgery. For any other queries related to post-surgery care appendectomy steps or appendectomy complications, you may simply consult a doctor and resolve all your doubts and worries.