Colon surgery is generally performed for divertulosis or cancer. This is considered major surgery, and is done at Thee Rivers Community Hospital. Your surgeon may request you have a clean bowel before surgery so you may need a prep and a clear liquid diet before admission. He may also request an injection the night before surgery to prevent blood clots.
What To Expect
You will be in the hospital from two to seven days – maybe longer. Various tubes and IVs will be used to help you during recovery. Leg squeezers may be used to help prevent blood clots. It generally takes two to three days for your gastro intestinal tract to regain function. Walking is important too, so be prepared to get up and move around.
Once home, resume your regular diet but eat smaller meals. It is helpful if you drink plenty of water and other liquids. To ensure regularity, you may need to take Metamucil (one tablespoon in a large glass of water once or twice daily).
You should get back to regular home activity as quickly as possible. Walking helps prevent blood clots, promotes return to normal bowel function and will make for a faster overall recovery. However, most patients do not return to work for up to four weeks following surgery. It is best to ask your doctor before returning to work.
Your doctor will instruct you when the dressing should be removed. Do not soak in a tub, hot tub or swimming pool. Keep your incision covered with dry gauze if it rubs on your clothing. Contact our office if your incision becomes intensely reddened, leaks fluid, or has puss or foul smelling discharge. You may experience some temperature elevation due to the incision. But if you have a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, call your doctor immediately.
You may be given a prescription for narcotic pain medication. Use Extra Strength Tylenol or Ibuprofen for milder pain and your prescription for more significant pain. These medications cause constipation, which is bad for your colon. So remember the Metamucil and liquids. Do not drink alcohol or drive while taking narcotic pain relievers.
We want to see you one to two weeks after your release. Simply call to make an appointment.