Care after your operation

Most surgical wounds need to be kept clean and dry. If you have a waterproof dressing, you can take a quick shower and leave the same dressing in place.

Once the wound is healed and there is no leakage, you can leave it uncovered. Some wounds can be washed/showered from day one after the operation – we will let you know before you leave hospital.

Wounds may be closed in various ways:

  • Non-dissolvable sutures (stitches, clips or staples)
    These need to be removed between five and 21 days after your operation, depending on the wound site. We will let you know before you leave hospital
  • Steri-strips
    Leave these on the wound until they fall off themselves (if they are very moist within a few days of the surgery they may need replacing).
  • Dissolvable sutures (stitches)
    These dissolve inside the body and the outside pieces fall away. This can take up to a month.
  • Tissue glue
    This does not need removing and will come away from the skin in time.


While we make every effort to minimise wound infections following surgery, they can develop at any time until the wound has fully healed (usually two to three weeks after your operation). You may have an infection if you notice one or more of the following:

  • Increased redness of the area
  • Increased pain or tenderness
  • Increased heat around the wound
  • A green or yellow leakage of fluid from the wound
  • Feeling generally unwell and flu-like
  • Raised temperature

If you’re concerned, please call the MSG and we will make an appointment for you to see one of our nurses between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. If you need to be seen urgently outside these hours, contact your GP or the Emergency department at the hospital (the usual charges apply when visiting your GP or ED).

Pain relief

You may be given painkiller tablets or a prescription when you leave hospital. Several painkillers contain paracetamol and you should be careful not to exceed the recommended daily limit of 4 grams per day for an adult. Paracetamol is an effective painkiller and works better if it is taken on a regular basis.

Ibuprofen can work well with paracetamol. If you can take ibuprofen (always after food or milk) this can be at the same time or at other times in the day depending on your needs. If you find your pain is poorly controlled and would like some advice, please call us.


Unless your consultant has given you a specific date to begin driving again, you can drive when you feel competent to do so and able to perform an emergency stop without hesitation. Please check your insurance cover with your insurance company.


Most surgery on the abdomen involves some cutting of muscle, even with keyhole surgery. Your surgeon will recommend when and how much you can start lifting.

Eating and drinking

Unless you have been given specific advice about diet and fluid intake, you should eat a balanced diet containing fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids.


Smoking delays wound healing. If you do smoke, try to cut down the number of cigarettes per day, or better still, give up altogether. Quitline is available for advice on 233170.

Returning to work

Your consultant will advise you when you can return to work. If you require a sick certificate, please ask for one before you leave hospital.