Post-op Instructions After Pelvic Surgery

As a patient that has recently undergone pelvic surgery, it is now your turn to play an important role in the ultimate success of your surgical treatment.  Studies show that it will take approximately 12 weeks for the tissues that have been operated on to heal to 80% of their eventual strength.  In addition, it may take up to six months to achieve 90% wound strength and full wound strength will not be completely achieved until two years following surgery.  Based on this, we recommend that certain restrictions and recommendations be followed, especially for the initial 12 weeks following pelvic surgery.
Please remember that during the postoperative period, anything that increases the pressure within your abdominal cavity will tend to disrupt and tear down the surgical repair prematurely.  For this reason, we ask you to refrain from lifting anything heavier than about 10 pounds, roughly the weight of a gallon of milk.  We also highly recommend the use of a stool softener for at least 12 weeks after surgery so that you do not strain at the time of bowel movements.  Chronic constipation has been implicated in causing your pelvic problems in the first place and must be avoided now and in the future.

If you need to reach something on the floor, you should either sit down in a chair and scoop it up or slowly bend down on your knees to pick up the object. In addition, you should avoid swimming, biking, aerobics and all strenuous activities for 12 weeks.  Likewise, we do not recommend intercourse for 12 weeks after surgery. Routine activities such as getting dressed, shaving legs, climbing stairs, etc., are fine as long as you take it slow.  Listen to your body as pain may be a signal you are overdoing it.
Walking is beneficial to your healing and highly encouraged.  We recommend walking a minimum of 30 minutes per day.  Please refrain from baths or swimming for 4 weeks after surgery, although showers are fine.  Please resume all of your prior medications unless specifically directed by our office.

You might go home from the hospital with a catheter in your bladder.  Some bladders "wake up" after surgery a little later than others.  If so, our nurse will remove the catheter in the office 3-5 days after you leave the hospital.   This visit is called a "voiding trial" and is routine.  In addition, we would like to have you come back to the office in 1-2 weeks after surgery for an initial post-operative visit with the doctor.  We will then see you again at six weeks after surgery for a second postoperative check-up.
You should understand that when you are first at home not every day will be a good day.  You will notice you are more fatigued than you were prior to surgery and that you do not have the same stamina you used to have.  This should resolve over the next four to six weeks.  During the first weeks after surgery, some people also may become slightly blue or depressed.  If you notice this happening, and it does not seem to be resolving on its own, you should contact our office and let us know.  In addition, if there is any problem with your wound, excessive pain or bleeding, a fever, or trouble emptying your bladder after the catheter is removed, please contact our office.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the office.

As a reminder, you can always reach us during the day at 485-5700.  If you call on the weekend or after hours, please use the same number and your call will be answered by the answering service.  They will page either Dr. Wolpmann or the doctor covering his calls if he is out of town.

If you follow these instructions, we believe that you will have the best possible chance of healing well after surgery.  Optimal healing is the best way to achieve a good, long-lasting, and successful repair of your problem.  We hope these instructions will be useful to you and if you have any questions not covered by the instructions, please contact us at the above number.  

Bowl Prep Instructions can be downloaded here.