Recovery andaftercare

Before going home make sure you’re clear about:

  • how to care for your wound
  • how to care for your stoma (if you have one)
  • your level of activity, particularly heavy lifting
  • driving (don’t forget to also check with your car insurance company in case they have any restrictions following an operation)
  • symptoms that need further medical attention
  • any changes to your regular medication
  • changes to your diet
  • how soon you can have sex
  • what kind of exercise you can do.

Normally your surgeon or hospital staff will advise you to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for 4 to 6 weeks. They’ll also encourage you to do regular light activity such as walking.

Check with your surgeon if it’s okay to resume your normal medications.


You’ll need to make a follow-up appointment to see your surgeon after your procedure.

Watching out for problems

Delayed complications from colorectal surgery are unlikely but you should call your surgeon if you experience:

  • discharge from your wound
  • redness or changes in the skin around your wound
  • A lack of bowel movement or gas for more than 24 hours
  • inability to eat or drink for more than 24 hours
  • increasing abdominal pain or swelling
  • increase in output from your stoma
  • dark urine or no urine
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • vomiting or fever.

Living with stoma

Managing a stoma and accessing stoma resources.


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.