- Reference Number: HEY-049/2023
- Departments: Plastic Surgery
- Last Updated: 16 October 2023
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This leaflet has been produced to give you general advice following your discharge. If after reading it, you have any concerns or require further explanation please discuss this with the nurse who has been caring for you.
When you go home it is important that you rest, you will need someone else to do the domestic chores. You should avoid strenuous activities, exercise and heavy lifting (including lifting children) for at least 6 weeks.
Dressings should be kept clean, dry and undisturbed. Do not use any perfumed products (i.e. sprays or creams) near your wound as these may irritate it. If you have any bleeding (other than oozing), swelling or discharge you should contact the ward for advice.
The stitches used to close your wound are usually dissolving and do not need to be removed. Occasionally stitches around your belly button will need to be removed 7 – 14 days after surgery. If your stitches need removing you will be given an appointment to have these removed; this is not painful. Your consultant may use dissolving stitches internally; these do not need removing and will usually dissolve within 10 – 12 weeks but can occasionally come to the surface sooner.
You can expect a moderate amount of pain, which can be eased by keeping your hips bent slightly when you are in bed and by walking slightly stooped, gradually straightening up as your abdomen becomes less tight. It is advisable to have a supply of mild pain relief medication at home, which should be used as directed on the packet if you have pain.
You should protect your scars from the sun, for the first 12 months, by using sun block or clothing until they are fully healed. Until the scars are fully matured, they will burn very easily.
We advise that you take approximately 4 weeks away from your work to recover after your operation but you may need longer if your job is quite physical or involves a lot of heavy lifting. Your doctor or nurse will advise you at your outpatient appointment. You can submit a self-certification certificate for the first week, after this you will need to get a fit note from your own doctor or the doctor on the ward. There is no reason why you cannot begin swimming, other exercise and sexual relations, once your scars are fully healed, although you should check with your doctor or nurse at your outpatient’s appointment.