Laparotomy Recovery Exercises

Laparotomy recovery exercises

How long after a laparotomy can I exercise?

Rest and exercise after Laparotomy

Recovery time after Laparotomy surgery is approximately one month. During this time you have to avoid lifting and carrying heavy loads (maximum 1-2kg).

You should avoid excessive pushing, pulling or stretching. Women should avoid heavy housework such as vacuuming, ironing; mopping floors etc., for up to 12 weeks after your operation (do not carry more than a three pint kettle) so accept help from others when it is offered. You can do light household duties such as dusting and making a cup of tea.

During the recovery time, use the elastic abdominal support belt. If you get any other advice how to use the support belt, follow it.

Before you sit up, put the support belt on and use it when you walk around.

During the recovery time turn to your side before you sit up and avoid straining your abdominal muscle.

You will continue to feel tired so it is important to rest when you can and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. Some exercise is important because sitting for long periods can cause ankle and foot swelling and can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (clots in the veins of the legs).  

Walking is the best exercise after surgery. It helps you recover from surgery and regain your previous condition. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed and try to maintain good posture even if wound might feel tight.

It’s highly recommended to walk daily, extend the walking distance gradually.

After 2 weeks of surgery you can start exercises for the internal abdominal muscles. The purpose of this exercise is to regain the function of abdominal muscles and to prevent wound hernia. You should do this exercise 5 – 6 days a week.

Take supine position with knees flexed and arms on your sides. Lift your head during exhale and lay it back during inhale. Repeat exercise at the pace of your normal breathing 3 x 5 – 15 times.


Read more about : Laparoscopic Surgery

Read more about : Rest and exercise after Laparotomy


After 2 weeks of surgery you can also start light stretching for the abdominal muscles. The purpose of this exercise is to restore the elasticity of the abdominal muscles and prevent tension of scar tissue. Stretches should be done after the abdominal muscle exercise (5 – 6 days a week).

Take supine position with arms on your sides. Lift arms over your head during inhale and move them back to starting position during exhale. Repeat exercise at the pace of your normal breathing 3 x 2 – 5 times.

After 6 weeks of surgery you can start exercises for the external abdominal muscles. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

Take supine position with knees flexed and arms crossed over your chest. Arch your upper back during exhale. Your head, shoulders and upper back should rise up from the surface. Relax your muscles and return back to starting position during inhale. Repeat exercise at the pace of your normal breathing 3 x 5 – 15 times.

You can return to your previous activities after 1 – 2 months.




10 common questions about Laparotomy recovery exercises

1How long after a laparotomy can I exercise?
HEAVY LIFTING AND STANDING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME. You can usually begin more strenuous tasks such as vacuuming, so that by week 12 you are back to normal! Please discuss getting back to more strenuous forms of exercise with your GP or Surgeon. You should not drive for 6 weeks after your surgery.
2How long does it take to heal after laparotomy?
Recuperation time following laparotomy is usually six weeks, but may vary depending on whether other procedures are performed at the same time. As with any post-operative recovery, it is important to always consult your doctor
3What exercises can I do after surgery?
In many cases, your surgeon may want you to start doing gentle stretching exercises, such as shoulder rolls or arm circles 2 or 3 days after surgery. Until you have your surgeon's OK, don't do any strenuous exercise such as high-impact aerobics, jogging, swimming, or lifting weights
4Can you walk after laparoscopy?
You may return to school or work when you feel ready (usually about 2 days after your surgery). You may swim in the ocean or in a swimming pool 2 days after your laparoscopy. ... You should avoid getting into a hot tub or jacuzzi for 2 weeks after your laparoscopy
5Is laparotomy considered major surgery?
A laparotomy is a surgical procedure through an opening (that is larger than that used for laparoscopy) into the abdomen. ... The risk of developing a problem that is related to having a laparotomy is low compared to other major surgery. However, problems can occur.
6Is laparotomy major surgery?
A laparotomy is a major surgical procedure that involves an incision being made in the abdominal wall.
7How long do you stay in hospital after a laparotomy?
How long you will need to stay in the hospital will depend on the reason you needed the laparotomy, your treatments, and how well you recover. This is often 5 to 10 days after you have the procedure.
8How long before I can drive after laparotomy?
We advise you avoid penetrative intercourse for about six weeks. This will allow everything to heal and prevent infection. If you have any concerns, refrain from sex until after your six week post operative check.
9How long does it take for a surgical incision to heal?
6 to 8 weeks Healing depends on your general health and the type of surgery you had. Large or deep surgery incisions can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. People with medical problems or prescribed certain medications may take longer. How can I help healing?
10How soon after abdominal surgery can I exercise?
Your abdominal muscles help to protect your back during strenuous activities and lifting. These muscles might be weak after your operation and you will need to be particularly cautious about lifting and carrying objects for at least six weeks after your operation.


  1. Malik says:

    Can a man have sex after 5 weeks of laparotomy surgery.

    • Iranian Surgery Adviser says:

      The recovery time is 6 weeks but it depends on each patients, so before having any intercourse you should see your doctor fir

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