Laparotomy

Patient Information Leaflet on Having a Laparotomy!

This may be the primary procedure or if something is found at Laparoscopy that is am unable to be treated Laparoscopically, I will perform a Laparotomy in order to treat the condition. (This will have been discussed with you prior to the procedure).

THE OPERATION

A laparotomy is an operation which involves opening up the abdomen. The incision is usually made in your bikini line in your lower abdomen however the incision may be vertical (up and down) if a large mass is present your tummy. The operation is generally being performed with the intention of preserving your ovaries and uterus and unless a life-threatening condition of the ovaries is encountered your ovaries will not be removed. This will be discussed with you in depth prior to the procedure.

AFTER THE OPERATION

When the anaesthetic has worn off you may be in pain. The pain can be like a strong wind pain which may be felt in your abdomen, neck and shoulders. I like to act early to reduce your pain. You can help me to do this by telling us how strong the pain is.

We use a pain score numbers 0 – l0

( 0 = NO PAIN ) ( l0 = VERY STRONG PAIN )

I will have ordered pain relief for you and you should ask for this as soon as you require it.

You may have a catheter left in the bladder. This happens if the bladder is manipulated a fair bit during the operation and it is usually left in for 24 to 48 hours.

You will be in hospital for about 5 days.

You should try to have 6 weeks of rest with no heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. You should be aware that you may need up to 8 weeks off from work after a LAPAROTOMY.

In general there is little bleeding after a Laparotomy. You may use sanitary towels or tampons. If you have heavy bleeding, bad pains, a smelly vaginal discharge or a temperature you should contact me or your doctor.

It is important to prevent any infection after your operation. Good personal hygiene is important. The day after your operation you may take a bath or shower. The dressings on your wound will have to be changed if they become wet. Check that the cut is clean and dry. This will help them heal. Where possible continue with a daily bath or shower.

After a laparotomy there is a possibility of getting a urine infection. Watch out for cystitis and if it does occur drink plenty of fluid. If symptoms persist contact me or see your G.P.

The risks of this procedure are minimal. Very occasionally, if there is a lot of scarring (adhesions), injury may occur to the ureter (the tube leading from your Kidneys to your bladder). If there is any risk of this a scan or xray of your abdomen will be arranged while you are in hospital. Very, very rarely a repeat operation may be needed to unblock this tube.

You may have a tube sticking out of your tummy for drainage. This is left in if there is more than average bleeding at the operation merely as a precautionary measure.

Occasionally there may be a fair amount of Bruising (blue-black) around the skin incisions. These usually disappear completely in 3 to 4 weeks.

DISCHARGE FROM HOSPITAL

It is aimed that you are discharged on Day 5 to Day 6 after the procedure.

If you have problems such as bad pain, increased bleeding, temperature, or generally feeling unwell please contact me or your GP. Remember to keep this leaflet to show to your GP.

You should not drive until you can sit comfortably in the seat with the seat belt across you. You should be able to turn your body as though to reverse and you must be able to perform an emergency stop.

Similarly if you try to do too much to soon you will know all about it. Rest and avoid any lifting.

I will review you at my rooms 4 to 6 weeks after the operation.

PLEASE BRING THIS LEAFLET WITH YOU WHEN YOU ARE ADMITTED

PERMISSSION TO REPRODUCE THIS LEAFLET IS GIVEN AS LONG AS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT IS GIVEN TO NAYLIN APPANNA.

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Naylin Appanna
Womens Health Centre
Waikato U21’s

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