Recovery and rehabilitation

Because you’ve had general anaesthesia and some opiate pain medication, it may take you a day or two to feel normal.  You shouldn’t drive and drink alcohol if so. It’s unlikely you’ll need specific rehabilitation unless you have other health problems.

If you’ve had open surgery, your recovery period is likely to be longer.


There are no real restrictions on the intake of food and fluid.  Let your appetite guide you.


Increase your activity gradually. Try to get up and walk every hour during the day to reduce your risk of blood clots. Don’t lift heavy items (including children) for at least a few days and delay anything strenuous for at least a couple of weeks, and build up to it gradually.

Getting back into activities

If you’ve had keyhole surgery, you should be able to go back to work a week later, unless your job is strenuous. You should allow 1 to 3 weeks to be able to do most things comfortably. You should be able to have sex within a few days. If you’ve had open surgery, talk to your surgeon when you can return to normal activities.

Wound care

Always wash your hands before and after touching the area near your incision. The wounds will be covered with a waterproof dressing so you can get in the shower or bath at any time.

Leave the dressings in place for a week. If they fall off before, leave the wounds open to the fresh air unless your clothes are rubbing or if there’s discharge from the wound.

Once the dressings are off simply wash with soap and water and dab dry with a towel.  Most wounds are closed with a self-dissolving stitch that goes under the skin. Your specialist will advise you if they’ve used anything different.

Scar healing

Your scars will heal in about 2 to 3 weeks and will become softer and continue to fade over time.


You’re unlikely to need a follow-up with your surgeon. They’ll let you know if you do.

Watching out for problems

Call your surgeon immediately if you have:

  • pain that gets worse, not better
  • chills or a fever
  • vomiting that won’t subside
  • foul-smelling or bloody drainage from your incisions
  • significant redness and swelling of your incisions
  • no bowel movement for 2 to 3 days after surgery 
  • yellowing of your eyes or skin.

Your procedure

What happens in the operating theatre.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.